Lessons in Love

Henry Ruff 003As the date approaches, when I will marry again, my thoughts turn to Archie and I try to “connect” to his essence. I want to know if he is OK with the fact that Tom and I are getting married. I need to know if it is alright to let go completely of the past. I want to know if I am being disloyal to him or to our marriage.  Archie died three years ago on September 5th and I am aware that my feelings at this time are somehow connected to that fact. It is an anniversary after all, even if a sad one, and all special days need to be honored. So I will honor Archie’s passing this way. I will remember what he taught me about love.
I was pretty much a total failure at relationships when Archie and I first met. I had two failed marriages under my belt by then and, well; frankly, to love and to be loved scared me to death. I just didn’t trust love. It didn’t seem to work for me. I knew how to love in my head. I had a lifetime of fantasy loves but when it came to the real thing, I didn’t have a clue before Archie came along. The first thing he taught me was how to BE loved. Archie just expected it. He expected to be loved and he was. He made me feel that I could trust his love because he trusted mine and slowly I learned to just “expect” to be loved by him. No reasons why, no explanations or justifications given, nothing to argue against or discount, he just loved me. I will never forget the last Birthday card I received from him a few months before he died. In it he wrote, “I love everything about you”, and I knew he meant it. I had learned to trust his love.
I still wasn’t able to trust my own though. I did not know how to give it all to my sweet husband. I could give a little and some days a lot, but I was terrified of giving it all. It felt like an impossible thing to do like bungee jumping off a cliff or stepping out of an airplane at five thousand feet and therefore I didn’t trust that my love was enough or worthy. When Arch was diagnosed with stage four neuro-endocrine cancer and given four months to live my heart cracked wide open. I knew that this was my last chance to give my best friend all of me with no more holding back, no more fear of losing myself. Arch may never have known what his dying did for me. He never really accepted that he was going to die at all. But it was my joy to be there for him every moment I could be until our final ‘camping trip’ at the VA hospital the last weeks of his life. Archie had always been my spiritual teacher and teaching me how to love opened me up to loving God like I never had before. After Archie died, I finally felt my love was “worthy” enough to give to God.
So, in a way, my marriage to Tom is Archie’s doing. If he hadn’t taught me how to love so completely, I would not have had the need to love another. It’s funny that life brought me a man who needed that love as much as I need to give it and is also able to return it in kind. Thank you, Archie for opening my heart and giving me the opportunity to discover that I will survive the loss.. Rest in peace dear friend.

Wonder what Tom will teach me about love.

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