When they died, the dream died. I was left with love without a dream. In loss, I found my deepest love had no place go, no embrace, no dream.

Benjamin Dream diedI dreamed of birthday parties and graduations. Marriages. Grandchildren. Holidays. Laughter. Kisses. Sunsets. Sunrises. Sharing life. Sharing history.

Death took the dream and left the love.  A major part of my living in loss was what do I do with all this love that has nowhere to go? And where now do I go?

I wandered the house. I wandered the earth. I wandered my existence. All I could find was a full heart and an empty life. It took a long time before I could empty my heart into life. It took even longer to dream again.

It is part of human nature to dream, to love. It is part of the human experience to die. Somewhere I bought the illusion that life and death had an order, a rhyme and reason. Grandparents die before parents. Parents die before children. Children don’t die. Lovers live in love and die in each other’s arms. And in fairy tales everyone lives happily ever after.

I was not prepared for the “after” and what it was to take from me. Bryan died first. I was not prepared. Lydia died six years later. I was not prepared. Matt died three years after Lydia. Still I was not prepared. I was not prepared for what was left of me.

Each death took so much from me, but I had no I idea what was left of me. At the end of our journey and the beginning of my living with such great love and no left to hold, I went unprepared into the very heart of my Afterloss.

What was I to do with all this love?

It wasn’t that my heart was empty. My heart was full of love. It was that my world was empty. A full heart and an empty world is what hurt the most. My heart didn’t break; it burst.

The love they gave me, the love they left me, was what I found to be what was to ultimately guide me into the journey of healing. It was their love, our love, which resuscitated me.

It was a long walk into my Afterloss before I found love’s unfolding healing. I had to touch the depths of my loss to experience what eternal love is. Love never dies. I thought it died with the ones I love. But my love for them never dies.

Benjamin Love not dieIt was the dream that died, not the love for them, and not love itself. There were so many parts of my life that died on the days of their deaths, but it was not my love.

I have been forged by the fire in my Afterloss. After all my anger, rage, fear, expectations and fairy tales lifted from me like smoke from a blaze, what was left was love. Love is what I started this journey with, it is what I hold dear today, and I sincerely hope it will be the last beat of my heart.

I don’t know how I found it. It wasn’t due to the passage of time. It wasn’t in the discarding of my love for them. In fact, I believe I found my ability to continue to love because I love them.

Lydia and I had many conversations as to what was to become of both of us. It wasn’t a perfect marriage, but it was a perfect love. All we wanted for each other was to live authenticity and be true to our paths. We had shared so much, lived through so much, lost so much, all through the resilient fragility of love.

Lydia encouraged me to find love again. She said the greatest testament to our love was to love again.

What I have discovered is that it isn’t about loving again. It is about loving more. Again implies over. I will love the ones I love for the rest of my life. To love another is to expand my love. It is not a different love that I love Rachel. It is not a different life, but the continuation and ever unfolding life I live.

I can no more compartmentalize life as I can love. Every breath I have taken is a part of this breath. I will always live with loss. And, hopefully, I will always live with love.





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