I’m a Barry Manilow fan and have been since the 70’s. Last night I had the opportunity to take an hour drive by myself and so I spent the time listening to and singing along with Barry. Listening to Barry takes me back in time and can make me feel quiet melancholy – which I love. I haven’t taken time to be in that place for a long time so I really enjoyed myself.
I cranked up the music and sang with gusto to songs such as Even Now, Time in New England, and one of my favs Can’t Smile Without You and it took me back in time to people I’ve loved and lost. As I’m writing today, I am again listening to Barry and loving the stroll down memory lane.
There was my boyfriend Harold who at 17 was killed in a car accident. He fell asleep at the wheel, crossed over the center-line and hit another car head on. Everyone in both cars were killed. I found out about the tragedy while listening to the radio and was so stunned and overwhelmed with the shock of the news that I honestly didn’t know how I was going to keep living. That was 41 years ago and I still get a tightness in my chest as I think about the grief and pain I felt for so many years afterward.
At 19 years old there was my boyfriend Roy who took my breath away in the same way you get when you’re riding on a roller coaster. The fun and excitement were there and then suddenly the ride and excitement were over and he was gone, leaving me confused, hurt and grieving.
Then there was my husband who I was married to for 17 years. Ours was a challenging, emotional relationship at best but at the beginning he could make me laugh and I always thought he was so handsome. He is the father of my 3 wonderful children and I am grateful for that.
I’ve spent time over the years looking at each one of these relationships working at healing the feelings of hurt, confusion, and deep grief. I loved each one and each one of them taught me important lessons.
Harold was so gentle, quiet and truly without guile. He was an athletic trainer and got teased quite often by the athletes, one particularly, because of his unassuming demeanor. I would get so angry and want to tell off the perpetrator but Harold would just take my hand and tell me it wasn’t important, that it was the athletes insecurity and to let it go. Back then I didn’t get it but Harold did and I have always felt that he was too good to stay long on this earth. Thank you Harold for being that gentle loving person that showed me how to be more accepting of myself and others.
Roy was that charming, unexpected summer flurry that brought relief from the mundane, boring routine of life. He was a flash from my past: he had been my 4th grade boyfriend in California the year before we moved to Utah. His looks reminded me of Tony Curtis and I was smitten, flying on cloud 9 all summer long. Roy was very complimentary and I didn’t take compliments well and would attempt to discount them. One day he looked at me and said, “Just say thank you.” So I learned to say thank you even when I didn’t believe it. Later I learned the ‘fake it till you make it’ concept and realized that he was helping me see myself in more positive loving ways.
My ex-husband took me the longest to learn the lessons because in a marriage we’re with someone so much of the time that it’s hard if not impossible to keep up pretenses. Then all the expectations (conscious and subconscious) get in the way and life gets confusing, painful and overwhelming. We tend to blame the other person for our hurt, and struggle to see how we are also contributing to the chaos.
Through all the pain and heartache and although he refused to look at his part, he never stopped loving me and believing in us. He was always good at getting up each day and going through the motion of life even when he didn’t want to and I certainly didn’t want to. He has always been stable and had a great sense of humor; something we needed in our marriage and in life.
To love and be loved means opening our heart to being vulnerable and taking a risk that we might be hurt. I think most of you have heard the phrase, “It is better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all.” I’ve wondered about that through the years and haven’t always been sure that I agreed with it. At this point in my life I can look back and say that I am grateful for each of these men and the growth I gained from them. They were perfect for the life and journey I came to experience. I believe that I chose each one of them and the learning I would get from them before I came to this earth and I thank them for playing their roles so well. I am a stronger, more confident compassionate person for having known them.
As I end this blog I am listening to one of my theme songs, I Made it Through the Rain and know that even when life gets stormy, I not only made it through the rain but I have found the sunshine and glory in the warmth of it. Can we ever really lose a love? I don’t think so because they become a part of our very essence, the person we have become; our lives are forever intertwined. I send them love and gratitude where ever they may be and hope for them happy, joyful lives.