Sara Close doing yoga in Colorado; Photograph from Wild Love
For those who have lost the love of their life…
Not long ago, a grey-haired, neatly groomed, kindly gentleman, maybe five or ten years older than I, approached me in a restaurant.
“You look like an academic,” he said softly to me, and smiled in an approving manner.
“Why, yes,” I replied, smiling back at him.
“I am, too!” he declared warmly, as if this was a great unprecedented coincidence.
He seemed very nice, so I invited him to sit for lunch with me. We had a moving conversation.
One of the first things he told me was that in the 1930s his Austrian parents had escaped the Holocaust and had been able to make it to safety in Britain. One of the next things he shared was that two years ago he had lost the love of his life, his wife of 48 years. She had died suddenly, while he was out of the room for a moment. One minute she was there, the next second she had gone—a brain aneurysm.
“We didn’t get to say goodbye,” he lamented.
I told him the love of my life had also died, three and a half years ago. We had been married only about half as long as they. We had been able to go through a transition process together and were able to say goodbye. But, I also told him, from my viewpoint, there are pros and cons to both kinds of partings—sudden, utterly unexpected ones such as theirs; and more gradual ones, however relatively slow or swift, such as ours. Of course not being able to say goodbye certainly must be just awful….But saying goodbye, in a context of going through stages of the process together (to whatever extent), also has its difficulties, to be sure.
He also mentioned that his friends have not been empathetic toward his disinterest in seeking a new relationship. I commiserated thoroughly, and encouraged him to find as much joy as possible in his life as a newly-solo person, even while also being open to the possibility of meeting a new love and partner at any point in the future. And meanwhile not to mind at all whatever anyone says. He thanked me for sharing my kind interest and response.
With lunch finished, he said he hoped we’d meet and talk again.
Today I came upon this video (link and my transcript below). The narrator shares some valuable insights about her own love and loss and passion for living. I found it touching and insightful. Perhaps you also will find it moving and inspiring.
Sarva mangalam – best of luck to all!
Wild Love with Sara Close – a video from Jenny Nichols
Transcript (by me); the speaker is Sara Close:
There’s this quote, and it says something to the effect of, “The one regret, Dear World, that I’m determined not to have while lying on my deathbed, is that I didn’t kiss you enough.”
There is soooo much to learn about our world, and we have one chance. And that chance could be gone in an instant. And it happens that way, you know? Like, I watched those instances happen for me.
Jonny’s death just happened over night. Jonny was on a climbing expedition with a couple of other guys, Micah and Wade. And they were in an area that hadn’t been climbed too much before; and they had been there for about a month or so; and were supposed to come back…But they didn’t show up for the plane….
I was just convinced it couldn’t be him. He just seemed so invincible — was so, in my mind, the person that I was going to be with for the rest of my life. That it just was like, “How is that possible?” The next few days were such a blur. Of…everything.
[Their] death is an instance where this whole community will still tear up when this conversation comes up, and it’s been over two years. But I think it’s because they still feel the impact of, the positive impact, of those people in their lives. And I think it’s more of a cheering out of appreciation than, like, joy. I think kind of hoping that that person is looking down and watching the cool stuff go on that happened after they left.
I think sometimes you know it’s coming, or the world knows it’s coming, and it puts you in the right spot to have an experience that will maybe round it out for you, before you know it needs to be rounded out….Jonny’s was just that we were in the airport together, and I was flying back in, and he was leaving; so we were like supposed to be ships passing in the night. And my flight got in early and his was delayed. So instead, we got to go have a beer and a burrito at, like, 10 AM in the airport, you know? And actually have time to hug each other, and to give him another kiss, and tell him that I loved him.
I feel so fortunate that that happened that way. And I think the one thing that I always think about from that experience was saying goodbye to him and walking away. You know? It was like, “Do you turn around and look at the guy, or not?” And, for whatever reason, I didn’t turn around. And that moment has seriously affected me for a while. Because now, every time I’m in the airport or saying goodbye to somebody, I turn around and look at them again. I just want that last glance.
It just is one of those things that, I will always be in love with him, — but that’s separate from any other love I’m gonna have. He wouldn’t want me to be sitting around crying, or not be doing things to my fullest potential. It’s not what our relationship was about, it’s not why we fell in love. And I think that that’s something that I feel is this gift that he gave me, of this capacity to grow, and to look at things positively.
Never once have I felt like I live in a snapshot of a moment. We’re meant to move, we’re meant to dance, we’re meant to fall over. You try to look at it as — not logical, and not write it off, — but look at it as something that makes sense, in the scheme of things. Be OK with leaning into others for support. It’s OK to trust the people around you. It’s OK to be emotional. It’s OK to say, “This sucks.”
Humans have some amazing resiliency. I think in that time I’ve also watched my very best friends come into my life. Those moments of love, and those moments of compassion, and human touch, I just think are so important. And I think I really live for that.
You can be madly, passionately, head-over-heels in love with somebody. And when they’re not there anymore, think like, “How the heck am I ever gonna love like that again? That was unique! That was once in a lifetime!” And it was once in a lifetime, and you had it, and what a gift! But I think you learn to love different people, because everyone’s going to touch your heart in different ways. And your heart’s huge.
There’s a lot more areas to be unlocked and a lot more areas to be touched than the way that just one person touched you. And it think it’s giving credit to yourself, and knowing your expanse, and your potential. And taking the time to grow that, I think gives you more ways to love, and to be loved by people. …Yeah, I like love.
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And more, from this site:
Wild Love With Sara Close
In May of 2009, Jonny Copp, Micah Dash, and Wade Johnson were killed by an avalanche while on a climbing expedition in China’s Sichuan province. We have written before about the number of different ways people are remembering them. Boulder’s Adventure Film Festival is held every year in honor of Copp. The American Alpine Club offers the Copp-Dash Inspire Awards for climbers who are looking for help with funding and to share their expeditions via multimedia. Applications can be submitted for those awards now. In the latest Wild Love video, Sara Close shares how Copp’s death affected her and how she’s moving forward.
Wild Love is a series from Emily Nuchols and Andy Maser that explores people who have a love for adventure, each other, and an insatiable love for living. Previous episodes profiled climber Timmy O’Neill, Jake Norton and Wende Valentine, and ultrarunner Krissy Moehl.
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