Today marks 6 months for me–it seems like yesterday and a lifetime ago.

I spent today enjoying the company of the new light in my life–learning to love and share and be present with someone is one of the best ways I know to pay lasting tribute to my wonderful wife of 19 years. And this person, well, to say she is amazing and present and loving and hysterical and kind and sweet and wise and open… well, that just barely scratches the surface. *Seriously*

I feel blessed, fortunate and lucky, but also empowered and deserving, because we would never had met or gotten to know each other had we both not put ourselves out there and taken the risk. We both know better than to count on outcomes or presumed eventualities–there is a lot of life between here and there, and we are both committed to be present in it, at each moment.

I honestly think she and Julie would have really liked each other. (And, honestly, Julie didn’t often like women *I* liked. “Other woman” crap from her philandering dad.) But I also know, as sad and final and crushing as it is, that Julie is gone, and her heart, wherever it is, is not something I can protect or worry about, any more. Mine, on the other hand, is alive. And it is mine alone to care for, nurture, protect, but also to nourish. My heart will starve if we don’t take risks, together. Not unconscious, reckless risks–my heart deserves to be protected. But if I lock it up inside a fortress (like in the song by Sting), it will take that much more work and effort and sweat and tears to undo all the battlements and protections that have been erected around it. So, I am diving in, with less protection than I might want, but with more openness than most can stomach, perhaps. And the rewards and learnings and beautiful feelings are coursing through my veins already, and my heart is nourished by them.

I know, all too well, and with great sadness, that I cannot protect my heart from the possibility of being broken. But I also know that, like all muscles, it gets stronger with use, and atrophies if “protected” too much.

I have no idea what the next six months will bring, only that they will be very different than the last six months. If I am not open, as much as I can force myself, to whatever it is that will happen, I will miss out on it, forever. And I don’t need more losses to grieve! Especially not of my own making!

One Response to “Dismantling the fortress around my heart”

  1. David Wheeler says:

    ya know, jay, if ’tweren’t for the beard, i’d not recognize you. sad as it is, my hair’s going the same way. ’tis only a matter o’ time. i kind of admire how you’re so brave about sharing such personal stuff. i’m not sure i’d be down for that, myself. nobody really knows me that well, and i’m content (for the most part) to keep it that way.
    funny thing, i’m a widower, too. my wife of 24 years committed suicide in ’08. cheaper than a divorce, i guess. i’m not sure i’ve “processed” it, really, but it’s not like i’m carrying this huge weight or anything. sure, i have some guilt, but life goes on, and seeing what comes next beats the alternatives. i have a girlfriend, i think we’re OK. been together almost 18 months now. she doesn’t want to get married, as far as i can tell. i’m OK with that.
    from what i’ve seen, and read, the average person has around 4 or 5 “serious” relationships in their life. statistically, this works out to an expected lifetime of around 8 years or so per relationship. of course, everybody is different, but the aggegrate numerical information says one thing unambiguously: odds are good that you’ll get “a second chance”, and paradoxically, odds are good “it won’t last forever”.
    anywho, cheers.

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