Today, fill your cup of life with sunshine and laughter.

21 January 2009

The Whys and Wherefores

(Remembering and forgiving the past is the key to opening the door to the future, babygirl. You have to let it go so you can be emotionally free to live your life the way God intended. ~ R. Dougherty)

Sometimes, things happen that seem to go against the laws of the universe. Sometimes, things happen that just seem wrong. Survival depends on having the right attitude when something does happen that takes away what you've waited a lifetime to find.

Roran and I met 17 months ago and it was like two halves of the same heart clicking into place. He was my best friend almost from the beginning and, in time, we grew into a romantic relationship without ever trying. It's almost impossible to explain to someone who hasn't experienced something similar. Most relationships have growing pains - ours never did. We made sense as a couple: our taste in music, our love of word games, our beliefs about raising children, our sense of silly, even our manner of speaking, matched. I felt safe with him on every level (those of you who know my past will understand what that means) even though he was almost a foot taller and 50 lbs heavier. He was soft-spoken and gentle in every way. That being said, I was not blind to his faults, nor was he blind to mine. Somehow, it just made us closer to be so imperfect and yet able to offer loving acceptance of those flaws.

Talking with Rory was one of my greatest joys. Long before we became a couple, we would chat about anything that came to mind. I'm not sure how we knew we could trust each other with our deepest thoughts and beliefs, but there were never any barriers to our discussions. Freedom like that is precious and rare, no matter that it is our right as human beings. It's rare to find anyone who can accept your thoughts, beliefs and questions without feeling the need to correct, criticize, or impose their own upon you. Rory loved the way I put ideas together, creatively and impulsively, even as I adored his more analytical, careful approach. Everything was in sync when we made decisions together.

I have a lot of issues from my past history that have always prevented me from becoming close to people. Rory made it his daily mission to help me grow beyond my self-imposed detachment and feelings of insecurity. He understood my shyness and made me see and believe that it is a charming personal trait rather than the barrier it always seemed to be. He loved my size and my shape and my mind and my personality without ever wanting me to change any of it. My time with him made me a better person, because he believed I already was a wonderful person. No, it was more. He knew who and what I am, and it was me that he loved, exactly as I am. That was his gift to me.

I have always been a little intimidated by men (again, fallout from the past), yet I recognized Roran's kind soul and gentle spirit the first time we met. He claimed I was the only woman he had ever met who completely "got" him. I did understand his needs - almost as though I could read what was in his heart - but no more than he understood me.

On June 6, 2008 at shortly after 10 pm, Roran and I were playing Scrabble and he was cheating (it was the only way he could beat me *grins*). I was brushing the dog at the same time and pretending not to notice when he snuck letters off the board, although it was hard to avoid seeing the second "l" of seagull go missing, especially when it turned the connected word into "ight" ... and when it was my turn, I almost missed seeing that, with his last turn, he hadn't put a word but a phrase. He watched my face, smiling, as I stared at "ILOVEYOU" for a full minute before I realized what he was trying to tell me. Then I said "You're kidding me." and I started to cry. It was perhaps the most romantic and most unexpected thing he could have done. He never stopped teasing me after that about my reaction which was, in his words, the LEAST romantic response he could have imagined. LOL

From that night on, we never slept apart. Roran lived and worked in the USA and I was in Canada, but when we weren't able to be together in person, we would spend the night on the phone. He would call me before the kids' bedtime and the four of us would share that time then, for the rest of the evening, he and I would read to each other or talk, or sing or play music together (my Roran was a gifted guitarist). Sometimes we worked on paperwork, bouncing ideas off each other or helping with content. We each had our strengths and shared this time with such a sense of fulfillment, it was obvious that we had a future.

Roran worked in construction and late summer became very busy for him. He became overtired from working long hours and, on Aug 23, he fell asleep at the wheel when driving home from a worksite, went off the road and hit a tree. He was in the hospital for five days and I was frantic because he was so far away and I wanted to be there to take care of him. The first night he was home, I stayed awake to listen to him breathing and I knew he was in pain, but he wouldn't admit it. Four days later, he was rushed to the hospital again and we discovered that his kidneys and liver had been damaged in the accident. They operated but were unable to save his left kidney, and were concerned that they would need another surgery to repair his liver. A week later, he was home again, but very weak and sick. It was the beginning of the school year, my son's first year in Kindergarten and I, a teacher ... staying here against my best instincts, is something that I will regret till my dying day. He was only home a few days when he told me that he knew there was something wrong and he returned to the hospital. They performed surgery to remove the damaged part of his liver but, before they were able to successfully complete the procedure, he had a heart attack. They were able to stabilize him and sent him home after only 3 days. A month later, he was readmitted to hospital and they re-attempted the surgery. He had another heart attack. Roran passed away on Oct. 19, 2008 at the age of 40.

It has taken me this long to be able to tell that story. It will be much much longer before I am able to think about the fact that I wasn't there with him without being angry with myself. It might not have changed the outcome, but it was where I should have been. Nothing was more important. The grief of losing my Rory goes deep, so deep that there have been times in the past months when I wondered if I would survive. I sought professional help when I found myself dreaming of being with him again, no matter the cost. Two things kept me together through it: my son, who is more important to me than myself, and my memories of Roran. Those things I learned, that he taught me, while we were together, must not be wasted. His love for me is a living thing, and it goes on even though he's not with me anymore. I can still feel it with me and it hurts less when I remember, and honour his memory.

The stories and various writings I will be publishing for the next while are my way of dealing with my grief over losing Roran. So much good came in such a short time it seems wrong to live in sadness, even though his death cut short a wondrous future. Therefore, I choose to fill my stories with memories of what loving Roran taught me. He was a Man in every sense of the word. I have chosen to remember what I had with him, rather than dwell on what I lost when he died. Each of my writings represents a memory that we made together. Our relationship was a work of art, a great composition, and I am proud of what we were able to create together in such a short time.

Roran, I will always remember you with joy and thankfulness. You were a gift from God.


Anndi said...

I've lost my mother and cherish what she taught me. I carry her with me every day. But I haven't lost a soulmate and will not pretend to know how that feels.

I've finally met him and I know what you mean about that fit and about being so comfortable, being at home with the other. Although short, your time with him was magic... As Shelby in Steel Magnolias says: "I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special."

I am so very grateful to Roran for having given you this most precious gift... the gift of knowing yourself.

I love you.

Bond said...

Coco as I read this my heart aches and tears deserved your time together and it is heartbreaking that it was not an eternity...
I see so much of what Nancy and I have in your writings of your time with Roran. When i told people about her when we met, I used the same term you used - she 'gets' on one ever has.

We are together 15 months now and we have never had a serious disagreement...when we have a difference of opinion we find a way to mesh our opinions...

HUGS to you my friend...Never will he leave your heart and mind.

coco said...

Thank you both for your ongoing love and support. I spoke often of you to Rory, and he was eager for us to meet each of you at some point. Now, although I will make that trip without him, it is even more important to me that I do so. You have both played a pivotal role in my adult life, for which I will be forever thankful.

Travis said...

I'm so sorry for this loss. Your remembrance of him is poignant. Thank you for sharing.