1. WHAT IS ANOTHER HAPPY ENDING ABOUT & WHY DID YOU WRITE IT:
Another Happy Ending is a memoir that shares another journey with one of the 3 men I wrote about in my 1st one. A new journey that actually began before that 1st book formally published. As was the case with Everything and a Happy Ending, not the living of those painful chapters, nor the writing about them, or the publishing of them was an experience I embraced readily, or excitedly, in fact, all have been brutally difficult both times.
Before I continue with your 1st question Matthew, I’d like to take this space to thank you. Complete & total strangers, you & I, when you first shared your space with me, & have opened your ‘home’ again in full trust in me as I continue on my journey through this almost unbelievable love story. Actually, has felt beyond full, overflowing at times, a treasured gift to me through times I’ve felt an agonizing emptiness. You are ‘family’ to me Matthew…in the realest, truest, best & most beautyFull sense of the word for me.
Another Happy Ending begins with him after finally making it to the happy ending that followed a few years of heartache with him, which I wrote about in that 1st book. I’d like to share just a little about it as I introduce this 2nd story because not only is it the prequel, but is so similar they are almost one in same in the most important ways, yet with a major difference. And because of that overwhelming sameness & overlapping interconnectedness woven into & through both I feel immensely important to keep them side by side as much as possible even though they’re two separate beings. And I thank you, again, Matthew, for indulging me as I type on. Succinctness is definitely not my forte, at least not in my personal life. Through my many years of being a personal assistant to some high level, successful careered movers&shakers it was absolutely a critical job requirement to master, but, in my own personal world, terse, concise, unnecessary are definitely not words that would ever describe how I speak, the way I write, or juggle any of the many balls in my own personal airspace, no matter who or what they involve. I’m sure our many email exchanges have just popped into your head and made you chuckle a bit. But, in all seriousness, I’m so grateful for the gift to be able to communicate with you. And to do so, allowing me to be unguarded, unquestioned (aside from these 2 q&a’s of course, but I think you know what I am mean), unfiltered, unjudged, uncriticized, not only allows but inspires me to continue on the journey my father & I began together late in his life, even in the usual fears we all face with the risk of doing so, & I wanna say thank you for that blessing & honor. Is not always easy in the world we live, I’m sure you’d agree, but feeling safe enough to express myself is something I spent much of my lifetime babystepping to trusting to feel able to do. We can think it impossible at times. It can feel beyond possible at times. But has been one of the most important journeys I ever began after a normal childhood & youth, yet one that cultivated an intense drive & desire to be as good, as perfect as possible in an effort to keep the peace & create harmony in a tiny space where peace & harmony could feel non-existent at times as they tried to co-exist in that space but were consumed by an energy with an insatiable need to feed. That childhood into teenagerhood also fostered within a false hope that some very controlled behavior on my part might be able to control some very unhealthy times that felt very much out of control sometimes as my parents behavior, their reaction & coping mechanism to dealing with some complicated circumstances they were living through in that apartment with their 5 children. My inability to find the right goodness, the right perfectness, to stop that behavior embedded within me a sense of inadequacy stemming from not being able to ever fix the problems I felt certain me & my brother & sisters somehow must be contributing to, if not causing completely. They were deeply rooted fears planted in that concrete garden in Woodside, Queens, N.Y. that moved with me from childhood into adulthood. The yearning to feel not only stable during some significant times that felt very unsteady but to feel safe, fearing for me & my siblings literal survival through some very frightening experiences was profoundly affecting. And yes, I see my childhood home as a garden now…even if was almost impossible to see that way for a long while in my life. But I was blessed one day far into my future with eyes that could & I won’t ever turn my back on that trueth. That shift of sight, to be able to see something in a different light, changed my entire life. Beginning the journey to embrace those consecrated grounds, to find my God, my own self, my soul, then gathering the courage to stay on that journey each time I somehow someway let myself wander off that path, & then reCommitting over & again to risk the vulnerability inherent & necessary in any journey inside ourselves, but is often times turned, twisted, and used against us by those outside ourselves is another gift that is my deepest desire to continue to honor. So again, my most heartfelt thank you as I finally start to answer your questions about Another Happy Ending with a little about Everything and a Happy Ending…
which shares about the journey together, mine & the 3rd man’s, one that had begun very ordinarily but eventually took us to an extraordinary place. A place where I was asked to give him a year to end his marriage so he could meet up with me & finally, physically, take this magic carpet ride…this exquisite relationship that we created & were living very privately, nowhere near one another physically, but forged by soulfully, truethfully, vulnerably, intimately sharing with one another into the very public world together. A place where I would answer his request by choosing to not only vow the year he asked for, but promised as long as he wanted, as long as he needed, to be able to take our relationship from our very private world, public, which for him, involves a much more public life than most of us want, or might choose to live after the time to do same in my own life had taken many more years, & many many more tears. The book also included parts of my own personal journey that had brought me to the exact moment in time that would allow me to accept such a mystical, magnificent road for myself; one I could actually dare to imagine, in my wildest dreams, a love, a relationship, a marriage, a union of 2 like the one my heart had long dreamed could exist, even though I saw it nowhere in any of the relationships reflected in my surroundings. The book then shares as we begin that journey, where, along the path, merged at a sacred moment, to become a we. Keep in my mind I noted we were nowhere near one another physically so when I use the word merge I am not referencing the standard, normal and usual way that is probably the 1st way most people would assume I’m referring when I use it. It was a very different kind of fusion I experienced. As well, the book includes the excruciating trip I took after that year ended without any word from him on the special anniversary he had chosen for us. That word, representing much more than just the a, b, c’s that string together to form sentences. The 1st book actually ends a couple years later, when I was finally back on a more stable, firmer footing then when that date came and went in silence to me after that faith affirming, life affirming, even as life scaring as it felt for so many reasons, life changed in a very abrupt way. A footing attached to a real foot & legs & body, yes, with very real human desires, of course, but much more important than anything physically affected, pained or disappointed by no physical contact in his absence & disappearance was the torment of a heart a mind and a soul that felt torn from its body. That rip (which most definitely was not able to rest in peace at all inside me) in the distress & shock it felt in the choice to sever every part of us that was non physical, refusing to let me ‘touch’ him anymore, collapsed me, & left me desperately wanting to reConnect with that bond. I had waited my entire life, feeling hopeless through a good part of it, as I battled trying to accept it might not be meant2be for me to experience that kind of unity with a mate in this lifetime, to finally feel connected enough to, safe enough with, trust enough to share completely & totally of myself to forge that kind of relationship with him, after I had finally found that place of connection, safety, trust, and peace within my own self, decimated me. And was a place I struggled intensely to get back to within my own self after a very real & true breakdown took me to a place that felt far far away from myself after it was pulled away. It felt a ferocious maze of thoughts & feelings & some very fucked up stuff as I moved myself through the process. It overwhelmed me many times as I stopped, started, turned around, fell upside down, on a journey I felt sure I had finished, after changing many of my relationships had culminated when I finally changed the one with my husband.
Falling back into the open arms of my father in heaven, who helped me to remember he & my mother, loved, lived, trusted the best they were able, where they were, when they were, at each step of their way with all of their children. That eased a tumultuous inner turmoil that was obliterating my insides that began interrogating my own self after the insanely beautyFull but also wildly bewildering ways I had been moving along by then. Thank God for my dad, who reached from heaven, to remind me of the very sacred tenet that became, probably, the very base that was able to transform his & my relationship while he was alive. That remembrance allowed me to take that trueth into a very kind consideration…of both my own heart as well as the 3rd man in my life as I cross examined, dissected, analyzed then over analyzed both of us. Of course I loved. Of course I trusted. That gift, from my dad, who somehow reached from heaven & placed that which I had forgotten back inside me, which then was able to take me back to my new man, & to, a beautyFull place…a happy ending…as frightening, confusing and difficult a time & place it still was in so many ways.
Another Happy Ending picks up as I was heading off into that book’s happy ending, with a lean back into that faith & firm hold again onto the thread that connected me to my God, and to Ray, still all on the same page so to speak…mind’s eyes, heart’s desires, soul’s unified, along with the gift that had long before been given to Ray still very much at the forefront of our trio…to let him lead, with my promise to follow. The feeling, the force, the connection between us, within us, all around us…was unstoppable. I still trusted that & my remembrance of that re-anchored my faith. No matter the fear any part of our outside might present, we trusted each other. As a recovering control addict it felt the most intimate gift I could give to us when I gave it to him on what was one of the most beautyFull but most bittersweetly sad days I have ever lived. Full trust. Whatever that involved. That new beginning we began on the heels of that happy ending would wind up feeling eviscerated by a blindside in November of 2014, that came with a force I had never felt before, & was, without question, one of the darkest actual literal real nights my soul has ever made its way through, as the book readied for publishing. I remember the date, moment, exact spot I was in when I felt my lifesource drain right from my body. And, by September of 2019, another fall, one of the darkest mornings of my soul, as that force, again, felt every spec of my soul, my Godsource, every peace of my inside, along with every piece of my outside…felt gone. I was completely empty. Not a spec of love left for my own self. Nothing left to give another. Numb. Empty. Hopeless. Or so I thought at the time. Or so I felt at the time. And it began what became another holy sojourn, hard as it was, to remember all that I had struggled so intensely to learn & trust for myself on the 1st journey to find my God that I’d begun as a much younger woman. After all the wonders, wants & what ifs about real and true love expressed in book 1, God asked me if I was still really All-In on my promise & prayer, as the Universe gifted me with the opportunity to find my answers to those very questions. I could have folded. I almost did. I could have quit. I almost did. Another Happy Ending shares that struggle…to know those answers. To give everything I could, if would help Ray to feel beautyFull too. The struggle with a nothingness I felt deep inside when I was a young girl who had carried it as I grew in age but had felt so sure it had filled in, fulled up by then. Back to my start. Not headed there, not on my way there, not almost there like I had felt hurdling towards in book 1, maybe scared in fact was at times along that way. But there. Really. Truely. Completely. Totally.
I thank God, as hopeless as it felt, as often as it did, so many gifts along the way this second time around, same as the Universe had given 1st time as heaven honored my intention to go full on to find them, my soul, my own self. Each gem sent to help ease & balance a pain that bowled me over many times. A hallowed aha moment when one of those gifts brought with it some of the most soothing, healing tears I have cried…remembering a very real trueth…my father, probably the driving pivotal force to that 1st journey so many moons ago, with Ray, & his alter ego, Emilio, the soulful inspiration as I took my 1st babysteps on it, and this time, Ray would be the holy sacred catalyst to helping me remember some really beautiful stuff about myself, along with a lot of other beautyFull stuff I might only have ever been able to learn because of him, & his poem, & with my dad by my side, even though he was nowhere around. A treasure to ease my aching heart. I believed it when I began chapter 6 in EaaHE…soulwork was the toughest job I’ve ever loved. I believe it now. Still.
The years I spent privately writing to Ray were the joy of my life. That time of sharing was paradise to me. Watching him inspired within me the most heavenly, ethereal yet tangible touchable feeling & metamorphosis I’ve ever felt. And it remains as precious a gift to me today to want to be my most vulnerable with him as it was when I jumped up & down at a poker table late one September night in 2009. After going All-In in my 1st game ever, one that Ray had tutored me for before it began, in my very 1st hand, when I had no idea what to do & took his advice & inspiration if I found myself in an uncertain place, for the rest of the evening as I played I couldn’t wait to email him & share it with him. Jump up & down with him through the thousands of miles that physically separated us at the time. And I have no doubt it will always feel a precious gift to be able to. Yet, by end of 2019 I offered a prayer to the Universe to help me transform my own insides. I could never say the journey through this memoir was joyous, but it does have another happy ending. One that has come with an unexpected gift from God…I not only still love him, I love him even more now, something I could never have imagined without what was, and remains, this very unplanned, oh so divinely guided, heaven sent love story.
2. YOUR DAD HAS MADE A BIG IMPACT ON YOU THROUGHOUT YOUR LIFE AND AFTER HIS PASSING. CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT. HOW HAS YOUR DAD CONTINUED TO GUIDE AND HELP YOU EVEN AFTER HIS DEATH?
My father is one of the 3 men I wrote about in Everything and a Happy Ending. A man who had a painful childhood that grew with him into a more painful adulthood. An internal pain he eventually trusted he held within his own self the potential to ease much of, along with the suffering he was inflicting on his own self by that point.
Through his death, he gave me the most meaningful gift he’d ever given me…the gift of new life. And I embarked on a journey just after that he’d been helping me feel able to take in the few years prior to that passing, after reConnecting in a totally different way than we’d spent most of our lives together to that point. That new friendship, & the devotion to our commitment to continue building it & keeping it alive after he died bridged the gap that was physically between us after he left this human earth & was no longer able to communicate with me in the ways we had done when he was here, which, in those last few years, held not many times with the most precious gift of all in humanity…physical contact. In the human life we moved through together those last 3 years, we bridged that physical disconnect by staying close verbally, & through writing…whether snail mail, email or even a text or 2 (since he preferred his computer to type). As the notes, cards, copies…of articles, information, interviews, advice, ideas, recipes, pictures, & gifts passed between us, sharing our thoughts & feelings with one another, our hopes & dreams, the annoyances, laughter, pains, tears, regrets, struggles, secrets, bucket lists…& probably as important as those lists, sharing the fears that went along with them, & most everything else in life, was exchanged between us, our relationship surpassed anything either of us could have imagined.
Three years earlier, almost to the day, that I laid on his deathbed with him bawling & mourning the loss of my best friend, I had left his room in a different hospital, headed across the street to Elysian Fields to feel some peace & calm from a very different type of tears after his snapping & ripping off of not just mine or my sisters’ or even the nurses’ heads which he had been doing, but my mom’s, which upset me even more so. She was the one who bore much of the brunt of most of my father’s frustrations, agitations, grievances most of all through the years (even if my youngest brother might disagree). The prognosis was dire & my dad, along with all of us, was devastated & reeling. Of course his behavior was magnified & intensified, understandably so with all his body had just been through. But I cried in that moment for the others around him, especially her, who would now feel the wrath of the incredible pain & struggle that had just been laid out before him, a result of a major complication from his very elective heart surgery.
When he did transition, back into the galaxies & space of a Universe that was one of his favorite topics & had so enamored him in his human life, he continued what our very real journey to friendship had cultivated & built together those last 3 years in between. I transitioned too, walking the path of that new life of intimacy. Not just wanting that kind of life but ready, willing & finally able to live it in every other relationship in my life. He continues to hold my hand tightly. His chapters begin my 1st book, & the chapter I try to convey those 4 is my very best attempt to continue to honor one of the most important men in my life begins Another Happy Ending.
It contains many examples of the non-human ways he has helped me hear his voice & guided from the un-physical world of heaven. The one though I’d like to share here, as magical & divine & profoundly powerful as many of those non-human ways are, is a very earthly one that not only holds the most force but the one I find most beautyFull. On the front flap of my 1st book I mention a most special place, heaven on earth. A blending, a balance, between 2 places. A description of a feeling of the holiest, most magnificent, majestical place of bliss & ecstasy we as humans can imagine for ourselves in the earthly world we live. And is another amongst my most cherished honors received while I’ve walked it this lifetime…to be crossing the very same bridge here on earth that my dad I joined hands in those last few years & truely crossed over, before he really crossed over to the other side in human death, with my sons. My dad & I did it together, yet separately, since he lived in Florida & I, in NY when he was humanly alive. Both times, both places, both bridges. Now he lives everywhere I live. He goes everywhere I go. I carry his heart everywhere. I don’t trust that because any concept or idea or even a poem as heavenly as E.E. Cummings has me hoping, or wanting has me desiring, or thought has me thinking. I trust it because he touched me, while we were earthbound, in such a way that imbedded his soul deep into every part of myself. And that process was heaven on earth to me as we moved through it before he passed over.
And it is one of the biggest blessings of my life to feel my boys & I choosing a similar path at this point in our lives. Staying committed to staying connected in a very human world that often times requires we be physically separate, as we stay devoted to being as vulnerable & honest as each of us can as we communicate. As we stay true to those intentions, the multitude of synchronicities & the frequency of those coincidences that not only feel as sublime as otherworldly, become the soulful inspiration & assistance to take into our other relationships. And when he sometimes sends a message to me through them, is as if I can feel my father squeezing my hand with each one & I’m reminded in those moments, whatever the message, however he delivers it, he is there, yet here. Heaven on earth.
3. YOUR 1st BOOK DETAILS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THREE MEN, ONE OF WHOM WAS YOUR FATHER. DOES YOUR 2nd INCLUDE YOUR MOTHER? WHAT IS HER ROLE IN ITS JOURNEY?
My mom is an important part of it, yet, included in a different way. The 1st book separated my journey with each of the men into sections. That isn’t the way the 2nd one reads, but she is very much all through it, as she was through the 1st. My choice to share publicly was for Ray. And me as well as a very connected offshoot. As I shared in that book, I feel there’s an important distinction between the need to feel hidden in your life & the desire to remain private if one so chooses & I tried to stay as true to that as possible as I wrote, both times. For everybody, but most especially my mom. I saw that choice as an important gift not just to myself but to all those whose lives mine rippled out & affected who did not choose any part of their own separate life or the one that included me, to be made public. To all, but most especially my mom.
My dad, where he was on his own journey by the time he died would have been more than comfortable to share his stuff with others, knowing the power & potential to help someone trying to move through something similar in their own life by sharing the intimate details of his own. But, my mother was not anywhere near that place for herself when she died, in fact, still very much in a heartspace & mindset that felt an intense need to hide a lot of her stuff, out of intense fears inside herself. Many fears, many reasons for each that she was unable to work her way through. I feel strongly is what grew a simple hernia into a very complicated sickness over an extended period of time that probably included much of her adult life although no doctor could say when it was discovered just a couple months before she died, except to express was exacerbated these last few years, growing in a size, severity & speed, that literally cut off her ability to nourish herself.
After finally receiving the fully edited version back, on almost the last day of February 2023, after many delays, from many directions, my mother passed away just over 2 weeks later. I hadn’t yet opened it, in the shock, & heartbreak of everything going on at that time. Nor have I been able to open it yet. She was unaware I had written again. I never told her. The thought of potentially adding to any strain or stress for her was not an option I would consider. She was moving through her own dark night of the soul as I moved through mine. And to be honest, in my heart of hearts, I never wanted, or felt it would publish alone, if even at all, as my longest spiritual support, as well as the psychologist who treated me in the years after I left the hospital know well what I was praying could be accomplished through this 2nd writing. That it was to heal something that’d been wounded in the space between the memoirs, something that started before the 1st…a process that probably began the second I shared my prayer with the Universe & with Ray to do the very thing I had prayed to do for him, help him to feel as beautyFull on his inside as I had come to finally feel inside my own self, & God began to answer that very prayer. Both of those dr’s helped refill trust & faith & peace within my own self that had felt gone. Yes. Yet, as I did that, I would not relinquish envisioning our selves & story would re-merge, becoming one not just to tell together if we so chose to do that, or we chose not to…but was all & everything I had wanted when I reached back with my promise to him…to live this ordinary yet extraordinary very beautyFull love story together. I just wouldn’t relinquish that vision. I just wouldn’t do it.
And my mother wouldn’t leave until that happened. Even if that merge was still not able to be the physical kind, or able to be public yet. I was sure of it. And yet, she did. And I’ve felt this soul-crushing pain in the time since her death. I had fantasized with every fiber of my being Ray would go to her before she died. She has her own special connection to him, & it involves his daughter. I gave him as much information as I could. I was sure he’d get the specific details that would be needed to make his way to her. Brief & private as he needed it to be, but he would get here. Re-connect with what had felt severed when he never showed that day. I’ve been making my way through so much dark & agonizing stuff in the time since her death while same time continuing another painful book of sorrows, knowing they are so part of one another, it has only intensified the crush felt within my heart, not eased, that has been, overloaded & overwhelmed by a confusion that has boggled my mind same time. Body&mind. Heart&soul. I was so sure…touch her hand, whisper in her ear the words I knew would make her smile, what that would have meant to her after her heartache watching her daughter from the distance she did these last ten years, has felt unmanageable at times. It was not her choice but mine to distance myself from her as I stayed devoted to the All-In promise I had made to Ray & what that translated to in terms of actually living that promise, one of which meant a conscious deliberate choice to distance myself from some old, not just unhealthy but destructive family dysfunctions & relationship behaviors that had been a part of our family, which very much included my siblings at that specific moment in time of pull away for me. That pull away pained her, I knew that, but I felt it most important to finally honor what was truest to my own heart at such a precious moment in time for me. I had watched over all of them through some very un-safe times while still a child. And, as the adult sibling stuff rippled out further & farther, stuff that had stemmed in youth, it filled my mother with anguish over many choices throughout her motherhood. But in her death, I reeled in that choice I had made, with so little contact or communication between she & I during that time. Of what I’m not even sure all of everything it is or includes at this moment…regret, remorse, guilt, anger. I had been working through these many years spent apart feeling I’ve been diligently working on & through it. How could such a pain be possible at this point in the wake of her death? I’d been used to rarely speaking with her, hardly ever texting her, & had barely seen her in the years before I went to visit her the January before she died. I had felt I was ok with that. I’d made peace with it. And yet, these last 9 months have just stomped me. In some moments, on some days, the very few I allow myself to look in that particular mirror that reflects back to me what I also know…is not only my mom that I’m wailing for but for me has been indescribable agony. I wanted her to see him, for her, yes. But I wanted her to see him, for me. I wanted to give her that gift. I wanted him to reach to her. I wanted him to reach to me. It remains the most painful hurt, only the depth & intensity have been magnified since her death & it has overwhelmed me many days. When I started writing this 2nd time it was for a mind that wasn’t sure how much more it could keep going the way it was after having been told 2 of the most important relationships of my life had never existed. As much as my heart screamed in agony most of the time…accepting it was another part of my All-In for Ray, no matter how bad it got or felt…but my mind was the danger zone at the time. As spring moved to summer into winter after her death my mind has not only been battling the confusing, familiar brutal back & forths again within my head, but the ache in my heart has felt much less able to manage meantime, sametime.
It had exhausted every part of my being & is what landed me in a hospital end of 2019. It was what prompted the decision to write a memoir again. I had been creating scene cards to share with Ray after he told me he was writing a screenplay for us. I knew he couldn’t say it publicly. Just like when he asked me to give him a year. He knew though. I knew. He was coming. Just as I was as sure as when he asked me to give him that year. And I was waiting. Just like I told him. He knew I was holding on that tightly. Even as a war waged inside my own self between a faith I was clinging to trying to keep no matter how it felt tested with a mind & a brain that didn’t just think otherwise, had actually been told otherwise. But I could do it. I was sure of it. That faith, was attached to a heart, & a soul, I had given to Ray. We were one. I felt it with every fiber of my being. So, of course I could do it. We could do it. I wanted to keep sharing with Ray in the private way, about all the private stuff I had spent years sharing with him that had moved to external offerings & sharings in the public world that I knew Ray was looking for & wanting very much. I wanted to do that for him. Yet, on my inside by a certain point it had turned into an insurmountable mess of thoughts & feelings & experiences of my life, before Ray, with Ray, while I waited for Ray, sure as sure could be we were going to go back to the way I knew made him happiest. Made me happiest. In private. Any second. I could do it. I wanted to do it.
I had felt that mess of a life before. It had happened with my father one night in Florida many years earlier when I felt I was about to drop dead of a heart attack one night about the state of my marriage, my relationships, my life. That night, really, truely, changed my life. And it had happened again. How that had happened…the sorting through all of that, the mess I felt my life was, my attempt to feel whole & healthy again, was the start of my writing of Another Happy Ending. First & foremost for me this time, yes. But it was also for Ray. Just like last time, only that time of writing was for Ray&me, and this time was for me&Ray. May seem same for some, but for me, there is a sacred difference. But no matter whose name was on whatever side of that ampersand sign, I hoped & prayed & kept faith through those years of writing to him…he was going to reach…someday, someway, & I wanted to be the woman whose writing had inspired him again when he did, & I was nowhere near that woman anymore.
My mom understood. I watched her struggle with such similar stuff for many years. She had friends & family to talk with of course but she was so missing something else for herself. She was yearning for it, something she was missing from a long ago time, when she was a much younger woman. As we started to build a friendship in the time just after my dad’s death she had started sharing a little more about it with me. Her role in my memoir is as sacred & important as in my life.
When I 1st looked through your questions, in my head, as I read, was my immediate answer regarding publishing for a late spring publishing date. As I moved through the process to get the rest answered, I came upon a different response. One that seemed perfect to place here in this question about my mom. And, to be honest, seems the most perfect I could give given my story…I’m not sure. I honestly don’t know Matthew. I’d like spring, & hold that vision, but summer is a special time too for my story, so, I leave the specific date in the hands of my God, & my father, trusting whatever the Universe deems the date best for it to be & that my dad will help them to guide my flow there.
4. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR ABILITY TO CONNECT WITH THEIR LOVED ONES AFTER THEY HAVE DIED. HOW HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO MAINTAIN YOUR CONNECTION WITH YOUR PARENTS?
To trust they can. The trueth that resonates strongest for me was imparted to me by a close friend just after my dad died, a friend who has become one of my most trusted spiritual guides & therapists…that after the grief & mourning over the loss of the physical relationship we shared would be the opportunity & ability to take that relationship to an even deeper level than we’d forged in our human life. And because of the nurturing we had done to forge that relationship in our human life, I would be able to experience that depth with him even quicker. And that is exactly what happened.
Another through a new friend since his death, Melita Harvey, author of Blissfully Dead, that I have held tight to since my mom’s death…when souls leave their human bodies they leave all the human shit behind. Is not their inability to connect with us, nor the relationship we had with them on earth that determines how well they can connect with us after their physical bodies die. It is the attachment to that shit by those of us left behind on earth hold onto. That energy is what blocks our ability to communicate together. My mom & I were certainly not estranged, but we had some serious unresolved stuff. Making my way to peace with her, maybe not fully there yet, but fully intending to keep moving in that direction, which began for me almost 10 years ago, is what has made communicating with her I feel possible at this time. And I have felt her presence strongly at times.
I got an email just before Christmas with a trailer from a movie that immediately moved me. I decided to give myself the gift of going, after some unsettling news stunned me to a bawl on my bed. And it involves an issue that has played a significant part of the mind battle that has gone on in my head for many years in this insanely beautyFull love story. I had been emailing with a new friend through the fall. It was not long before everything I’d been storing up & saving to talk about began blathering out in such a feeling of peace, finally. It felt heaven. It calmed me. But I had just been made aware something was not so & that information was breaking me down. One of my spiritual advisors informed me the new friend I’d been emailing with was not who I thought. Not as in a different version of a same person, but an actual, physical, different person. To me, it couldn’t be. She couldn’t be right. I felt so sure I had shared how damaging that had been to me, contributing to so much confusion for so very long, & the thought it could be otherwise, sent me into a tailspin. I asked her over & over trying to find anything to latch onto that might be some sort of misunderstanding or misread or miscommunication. It wasn’t a maybe…she felt a firm, clear, very direct message from the other side. Just like another had once before in a pressing urgency. It was a beautyFull experience & I share about it in Everything and a Happy Ending. But this was a different time, a different place. I couldn’t get a handle on it. It couldn’t be. Not again. I had been exerting tremendous energy trying to translate, again, over an extended period of time, again, that was finally feeling it could begin its journey to finally rest, in peace, & the news a birthday message had not been received, & the why it hadn’t, had curled me into a literal, fetal ball. The movie would distract me. My son was coming home for Christmas. I couldn’t break down. I had to hold it together.
I share that story in an effort to convey the utter sense of desolation I felt as I headed into NYC’s Angelika theater in the East Villlage that eve, unloading to my mom in my mind much of the subway ride. It was a small sense of relief from what was feeling too big of a burden again. The movie was as hoped, a tiny respite from a renewed & very familiar cry from within my mind. For those two hours, I emptied it all out in that theater, packed with all kinds of people, who heard my tears & cries right along as I heard many of theirs through that movie, for their own private reasons. A movie with a couple very much in love, yet also very much in pain, a movie about 2 parents & their relationship with their child, & a movie that included one of my favorite topics since childhood, death. It was as if my mother herself had sent that email about All of Us Strangers. And to only strengthen that faith, towards the end of the movie, a song began to play. I didn’t recognize it, not the melody or lyrics, but the voice I recognized in an instant. Back in March when my mother entered hospice I flew to see her, to say goodbye. The 1st thing I noticed when I entered her room was no music. At her home in Florida she always had music on so I asked her if she’d like to hear some & would put on my Pandora for her. She was flying high at that point on morphine, but equally as high to hear some music. I asked who she wanted to hear, & her answered surprised me. Not that she didn’t like her, I knew she was popular in my mom’s younger years & was a fan, yet I’d expected Celine Dion, one of her favorite faves, or the Bee Gees, another big love of hers. She responded Patsy Cline. It was beautyFull to watch her sing along, remembering that’s what my dad called her in many special moments. I kept the station on my phone, & almost always listen to on shuffle mode, & now, whenever I hear Patsy, I feel her with me. The song in the movie, If I Could See the World Thru the Eyes of a Child, broke me down, remembering a conversation she & I had just after I separated from my husband when she was in my home on Christmas eve. It was 2009, the 1st one without my dad. Without her husband. She was in so much pain, for so many reasons at that time, making her mourning & grief almost impossible to move through. In deep battle with her worst demons. I tried to reassure her that night it would all be ok. There is no doubt, that was my mother singing to me in that movie theater, not Patsy Cline, almost 14 years to the day after I tried to ease her mind, in one of her darkest times, who was trying now to help me in mine…it will all be ok.
I agonized about what to do before deciding to let my friend know, what I was told he didn’t know. And I let him know it was scaring me. I wanted my new friend’s help with a fear & a confusion that was rising faster than I was feeling able to rise above. In childhood, not only didn’t I feel safe to communicate fears, wants, needs, to anybody (& I feel strongly my siblings would echo that same fear even if I can’t speak for them), but my mother was petrified to ever express herself as well. The consequences of doing so could be quite dire, given the man my father was through my youth. It was not only not heaven on earth, but felt hellish through some of that time. And I asked for his help. The yearn to entrust another with every thought & emotion inside me is what put me on the path to my God as a younger woman, one that remained with me through my marriage, & is what led me to an incredibly beautyFull place, one I want to remain in in my most precious relationships, especially the one with my most beloved other.
5) WHAT ROLE HAS FAITH PLAYED ON YOUR JOURNEY? WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR OTHER PEOPLE QUESTIONING THEIRS
Faith has played the role of Mother, Father, Protector, Best Friend, Lover
And since they’re all relationships, same way I see my God, the best advice I could give my own self when questions do arise in any of the ones above as well as any in our life & most especially our most intimate ones, to keep the flow going. Just like with every relationship. As the questions go back & forth, the communication picks up, it goes deeper, with every back & forth a smidge more nurturing, sharing, touching…all forms of communication….eventually, hopefully arriving at an answer, a solution, a resolution, a peace, a calm, together.
I’m gonna include a question & my answer from my 1st interview for EaaHE, 9 years ago by now, a q&a, much like this this one to show how damaging my choice not to do that snowballed.
What would people be surprised to know about you? And my answer: I’m way more petrified than I appear or seem to be on my outside…always have been. But appearances & how things seem to be in real life are often quite different than what they truly are. Difference for me now is I’m committed in my life, finally, these last five years, to rising above them when they raise their ugly head. I won’t let them hold me back from anything I want to do, feel, see, experience in my life any longer. But still quaking in my boots most days on my insides.
As I was working on my responses, much like I’m doing now, I got an email requesting a photo of me be included. What happened was a jolting reminder of how far in over my head I felt at that point, already, after my promise to release control in my life was offering me new opportunities to do that everyday. I had promised my dad I’d let go of it on his deathbed. And not long after I made that promise I would be given the opportunity to let go of it, & give it to Ray. Given who we each were, & our own personal worlds & lives I felt it was the best gift I could offer up as part of my All-In. To help be able to release some diligent & committed control in my life that had not been healthy, & help Ray in whatever issue regarding control that having mine with the power over me to use, would be for Ray to choose for himself, that might help us on our All-In together.
My fears did not care whether I was All-In or half-in for anyone…they continued to want me all-out, and wanted to be back in control. Nor does fear care about faith. Whether a monumental life crisis or smaller stuff that can challenge on the day to day basis.
I responded no pictures. The acceptance of a public life with Ray terrified me. At the moment I reached back to him privately with my promise, I also made myself one & set the intention to look deep into those fears. A life outside the one we were living together, sublime as it was, was still, private & hidden to the rest of the world, which, while had me feeling euphoric, came with the very real human downside of the trueth & reality to be physically intimate with him would not be possible unless the relationship was public. Since I’d been working on moving out of some uncomfortable comfort zones in my life for quite some time, I not only believed in that trueth, but more importantly, I trusted I could do it. There’s a reason I use the word beautiful often, as well a reason I decided along this journey, so helpful did I find it to be, to choose to spell it the way I do. Is a powerful reminder that life is beautyFull, & I am beautyFull…even when I may think or feel the world, & I, are not.
Re-examining some of those fears about being looked at that I had certainly come a long way with in my life to that point, & had overcome in some important ways, but I knew still existed. I had shared my journey to finally feeling beautyFull inside myself with Ray. In fact it was the very prayer for him to feel the same beauty inside himself that was the heart of Everything and a Happy Ending & is as sacred a part of this 2nd memoir. I knew it would not only be a good thing, but an important way to spend the year. It was one of so many emotions & fears for so many reasons. Resplendent though in a high & a rush I’d never felt, even in the scary twists & turns. Diving deep into some of what had been the most important spiritual guidance to that point in my life not only helped me to feel ready to stand beside him on our anniversary, also felt imperative for some very intimate reasons…how could we ever make love together with our physical bodies if neither of us felt stable standing side by side. I was well aware Ray would be battling anxieties as well, even as the new man he was. I understood, I was a new woman too, finally, & knew all too well it certainly didn’t mean all our old stuff just disappears. As I reached to my past to help me move through that year, I continued to make love with him in every other way I could. And I chose to see every choice as the most divine foreplay. And that included continuing to email him, as I continued to trust faith would surround us in these scary times, protect us & keep us all moving on the path to all our holiest & highest goods. And, the better I felt about my own stuff, the better I could help him. I wanted to do that for him. Even though quaking in my boots, I would be able to stand.
The day the interview posted not only did they run a picture, they chose to include a picture of Ray’s wife. Knowing what she might be going through trying to accept his trueth, especially after own health scare I was more than well aware of, and as well, after experiencing Larry’s intense pain & struggle through our separation weighed heavy on me. Sharing that weight with Ray had helped that year. People were hurting. Larry, Anna, his kids, my kids. Even though I trusted with every part of that very pained heart it was the healthiest holiest trueth it was best for all of us didn’t make it easy knowing the wrenching pain that is part of that process. ‘Good’ marriages, whatever that means to each & every couple can feel almost beyond difficult to end, for both spouses in the marriage. And to be honest, I feel those who may even describe their marriage as ‘bad’, also struggle mightily to end. If ever there is even a spec of love, endings include much sorrow & difficulty.
I contacted the woman who arranged the interview. I was told under no circumstances should I reach to anybody about any mistake. That reply to me should have been a huge red flag, & in hindsight it was, but given the state of my heart & mind & body, I allowed myself to look away from that flag. That flag was my faith asking me, begging me, to question it so it could help return me to it. I said I was committed to not letting fears take over in that very interview, & then let it choose my decision not to do anything about it. I told myself looking away from those fears somehow meant I was rising above them somehow. I convinced myself I couldn’t reach & take back control to tell them to take the picture down. How could I? I’d gifted that away which translated, in that instance, on that day, to no reach. I was going with the flowing of faith in God & the Universe to be helping steer us. Of course, I’m aware promising someone control does not mean you are failing by a choice to advocate or speak for yourself but at that time, I was a mental & emotional wreck, & there was a disconnect beginning as well as different lines blurring that would make those distinctions more difficult to make with each new day. Some of those new days blurrings allowing me to swing the other way, rationalizing & justifying when I’d fall off the wagon & resort to some of the controlling behaviors I had promised to relinquish. That I could stop & do what I could do to calm & ‘question’ to arrive at the healthiest holiest answer, for my own self, let alone the everyone else’s that rippled out from mine&Ray’s that were feeling more & more my responsibility, felt less & less possible. My mind, & to be fair, my heart too, wanted to turn away from the red flag, & the many others flying everywhere by that point in my life, that didn’t just tell me to reach & request that picture come down but also address the person who helped coordinate that for me. Who, at the time, probably behind Ray & my ex-husband, was next on the list of who I felt were frying my mind & frazzling my nerves the most damagingly at the time. I felt, at the time, to reach & take control of that interview would be breaking a promise to him. I felt that interview was so important for us. I felt so afraid of what would happen if along with the picture the woman decided to take the interview down too. I couldn’t do it. I convinced myself I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to do it. I was afraid to do it. But somewhere inside I knew that didn’t feel right. I just didn’t want to question. I wanted to look away. Short question, long answer. I feel like is always best to go into the questions, even deeper with them. You’re usually questioning some for a reason. And it oftentimes, in my experience is less about the faith, & more about a very specific fear that needs to be addressed. Once the fears are addressed, if the faith is genuine it will stand & be stronger. And will probably help what sparked the question in the first place to get resolved. I think the questions means there is something to work through. And like with any relationship …communication is key. And when we shut down the questions, we shut down the relationship. It was simple, as terrified, angst ridden & stressed in my life over what was going inside me, inside my apt, & outside in the world that was surrounding me, squeezing me tightly. Tough stuff. No doubt about it. My ex, who continues to live in my apartment in Queens with me now, ½ of every month but at the time was still full time after I let him become my roommate after his dad died. It was a very divine decision at a very important time for him & our boys. Yet, by this point in time he was intent on making my life feel very un-divine to put it mildly. Which meant much same for my boys of course because they lived here. And they were struggling in this living condition. And it felt impossible to question anything for so many reasons. It can feel hard…& certainly scary. And it might have taken me all day in a day I felt I didn’t even have 2 minutes. And we won’t make that choice every day. When we are going through the worst year of our life, which can feel is unending, be kind to yourself & take the nap. But each time we look away doesn’t just not ask the question, it is another tiny add to an issue that has the question, that is not going to get answered, along with the issue that is probably going to keep building, in strength & speed.
Addressing that fear that day that interview posted, diving deep into the whys I didn’t want to insist the picture be removed might not have made that big ball of fear completely disappear but it certainly would have stopped it from getting that teeniest bit heavier & bigger that day, which it did. And kept on doing for many, many years for me as I kept looking away…too many questions, not enough courage to keep asking questions after many critical ones had been dismissed, shut down…downright ignored, not enough time to answer, not enough help to answer. I let the too manys & the too many not enoughs overwhelm me. For me, not questioning, not talking with or through some really difficult issues, some truely tough stuff that was going on wound up with me feeling panicked I’d lost my faith, & that my God was gone. When you question your faith, like any relationship, it will begin a discussion. A back & forth. It would have been a very different experience had I sat my God down, looked my faith right in its eyes, and questioned it, talked with it, conversed…tried to work through the questions with it. Deeper & deeper until I got to the answer that might have been most helpful at the time to stop what was going on in my life. But I kept looking away, & kept giving myself excuses because I didn’t want the answer in the moment because then in the awareness of an answer comes a choice. The more I started to fear what some of those answers might be to a great many questions by then, the more I turned away from them. Lots of times making choices is tough stuff. I wanted to stay put. I wanted to stay right where I told Ray I would be. And the fact that I was feeling squeezed in a way that was feeling suffocating me at times, changing that I felt would somehow someway have involved a choice regarding Ray I simply did not want to make at the time. So even as I slapped my earphones on each morning to do my meditation cd, or reached to any of the many tools I use in my life to keep connection with the most important part of myself, another part of me was pushing it away, was resisting hearing it, seeing it, or using it in the way it had been a helpful part in changing a lot of relationships prior, most especially the one with myself. At a certain point I even stopped listening to the section of my Abraham meditation series titled ‘relationships’, choosing general well-being, physical or financial since those were the most outwardly seeming in need of help. I told myself I didn’t need relationship help. I told myself my trio was perfect already…aside from the fact he wasn’t actually physically with me yet. Aside from the fact it was unbearable being cut completely off to him. Aside from all the asides. It was perfect. If it wasn’t, dear God, what would I do? I told myself all I needed to do was wait. I didn’t want to have to examine any of the choices that might be put before me if I accepted it was not perfect. It had been perfect, with no trying, no needing, no pushing or pulling or controlling or feeling responsible for or obligated to or forced to be anyway other than who I really truely was inside, through that time of re-Connection just before & through Men of a Certain Age. It was the purest, most organic beautyFull experience of my life. That flip, the process of that change BACK to needing as the dominant power, my need, his, anyone &/or everyone’s, began somewhere after the year anniversary of MoaCA came & went with no reach or contact from Ray continued its comeback into a very dominant mindset. And I resisted that change. I wasn’t even aware that mindset comeback was coming back for a good amount of time. But, somewhere deep within it did I’m sure. As well, above always knew that process was beginning for me. My wanting to inspire Ray was changing into my needing to help him. And that was a long painful journey…the shift from feeling so desirable as I was inspiring him to be his best & most beautyFull self to needing to help him do that, & my needing of his help from him. It was soul crushing, & deeply painful to ask for help & not receive a response from the person I trusted with my life. And that shift back, continued to move me back as it rippled into my other relationships as well. Is a powerful line that when not blurred holds enormous power for positivity & change in one’s life. When you aren’t propelled by your need to stop drinking, stop gambling, stop throwing up, stop running, or to start any particular behavior or make any particular choice but rather by a real&true desire to do so for yourself…to stop drinking, or lose weight, or leave a relationship or begin a new one….again, whatever intention one would like to set for themselves, makes a huge difference, at least to me it did, when looked at through the eyes of need rather than want for oneself & others.
I did not want to be feel differently about some important stuff, so I stopped hearing the words that would remind me, alert me, red flag me, to do some questioning about those asides. Something I had done in my life for many years much earlier. And, over time, prayer began a turn back to more of a beg for, than a belief of & faith in, whatever I was praying about. And my life began to reflect that. And the fears got bigger for it. For a # of reasons. I’m not educationally knowledgeable or professionally experienced to have anything to back that up other than to share my own experience of years upon years of choosing to sweep my questions under a rug, or stuff my fear in a closet or both further down into my own self, is not only not in our best interest any day but so not good in the long haul. And in this case very much had to do with a faith based issue going on in my life. I thank God my heartspace, time & again, knowing it was not wanting to be co-pilot to my mindset in my life again, did not give up, or let go.
Another Happy Ending is my most heartfelt & genuine attempt to stay true to the commitment I shared in that answer. Life continues to scare me. It comes with being human. This story continues to scare me. I continue to quake. Both, probably even more than I ever have in my life. My best hope, is faith. And when it questions me, or I question God, it is usually a productive heart to heart, no matter how insignificant & most especially in the most important.
6. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST VALUABLE LESSONS YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF THROUGHOUT YOUR JOURNEY
First, I’d like to share the importance of finding it…the faith you asked about in the last question.
Not the faith that was taught to me in school was the ‘right’ or only faith. Not the faith my parents did or didn’t have or the faith my grandparents took us to church many Sundays to learn about. But the faith that feels, & looks & sounds & tastes so beautyFull, touches & fills my heart & soul so fully, so firmly, so completely that it walks with me in my every day to day, and through my every night too. Through my every want & need, each hope & dream, the ups the downs the debilitating pains, the struggles, & most importantly, my fears. Beside me, behind me, in front of me. All around me. A union to hold sacred through all the days of my life. And committing to finding it when it feels lost. And again. And again. The one that took me many mini-lifetimes to find. And, when it feels gone, or wondering if it mightn’t have ever been there in 1st place…re-connecting with it, reTurning to it, somehow, someway, in whatever needs to happen so you can feel you are holding it close again. Reconnect with that intention, to really truely keep your faith. Keep the faith. Sounds so cliché. And the term is used often…but to actually do that keeping requires commitment & devotion to do whatever needs to be done. Refocus replay rewind or fast forward. Have my tea leaves read, my tarot cards read (by a trusted reader of course), or read my bible. Hold prayer beads, or the rosary. Take a bath, take a rest, take a trip…down memory lane or any lane that will keep me holding hands with it. It had been a deep desire of mine since a very young girl. One I feel I finally formally embarked on as a fairly young woman. The yearn, to learn & get to know the God that would eventually become mine, & the desire to love him deeper & deeper, realer & truer, to know him more & more intimately moved through most of my marriage with me. That yearn, that desire, it is as real in this moment I answer your questions, as was way back then in my childhood, through that marriage, & has stayed with me through 2 memoirs. And is with me, still. Feeling my God dying inside me, my soul, my source, my lifeforce…all parts of my outside & inside strained through that process. A soul that felt completely lost to me, & a mind that had moved into a very emergent plight & state by late September of 2019, along with more than one major physical health crisis that continue in their urgency as well rippled out to create new serious issues, have all reminded & re-reminded me of something I knew many moons ago…the preciousness of my Universe to me & when the shit hits the fan, its precious assistance to move me through the loneliness, give strength, foster courage, & so much more, all which help move us through the difficult, painful, challenging times that come with human life. I’ve come to be gentler on myself through these 2 journeys of feeling a failure as a woman of this certain age still struggling letting this precious gift in my life slip away, & feel forgotten, yet, as a relationship – seems a very natural flow of life, which requires tending to, & nurturing to not let that happen, & when it does, can embark on a journey to re-build, which can bring out the best in both.
And as a 2nd lesson…to be kind to myself on that walk of faith. Both lessons were instrumental in putting me onto the path it did after my father died & I feel strongly he would agree, given they were probably two of his biggest life lessons & challenges as well.
And then, once you do make your way to him, them, us….do all that is within you to keep it close. Walk, run, crawl, jump, hop, skip, beg, borrow, steal, stand on your head in a downward or upward facing dog all day if that’s what it takes to feel the hand of God in yours again. To feel your God, your best friend, inside you again. Life can be cruel. It can be hard. It can be painful. And not only a time we can be physically alone, we feel alone & lonely. Finding a way to stay connected to your God, so your God can stay connected to you can be simple, even if not always the easiest choice because is scary. But the fear weakens us, & builds an ugly, scary gap. And the gap divides. And the divide disconnects. I kept refusing to accept that was happening. In my mind, my heart, my soul…we were united, the 3 of us. Me, God & Ray. I just wouldn’t let go of that. I just didn’t want to let go if that. But in that tight hold, a very un-holy clash began along the way when a powerful resistance began pushing it away.
As distress & angst moved with me, through the most painful time of my life, not having any idea what was wanted or needed of me to alleviate what felt a sheer agony, a deeply ingrained need began to grow again. Painstakingly trying to know answers about what to do, how to do it, & a pressure to behave in the best way as you do it, to best help my parents, who only communicated through the outer realities that reflected some deep inner turmoil they wouldn’t share with their children had been a damaging choice for me to make in my youth, even if I was completely unaware I was actually making a choice at the time, & a powerful launch to some collateral damage I didn’t even know specifically why felt unwell, for a good part of my life, even as many good & happy & special times were also a part of that life. Since there is always a choice in adulthood that childhood comes without, it was not only equally detrimental to my well-being, but more so now as a woman who was fully aware there were in fact choices I could make. The self-loathing I directed at my own failure of a self in the mirror at some low points through the years I write about in Another Happy Ending, for not knowing what was going on even though I begged for help with questions that were refused an answer, not being able to figure out what was going on after I was not given an answer, for feeling responsible for what was going on, yet no idea what was even going on, never mind knowing why it was going on, as well as feeling responsible for everybody else’s actions & choices, was eating me up inside after a time in my life I was looking into that mirror each morning guided by Louise Hay’s mantras to try as best I could to help heal a life I had beaten my own self up about through many earlier mini-lives I’d felt a failure in for so long…after a cancer scare, & a heart episode scared me almost to death had already gifted me assistance to be able to heal that life once already. Even as I remembered a most important something I did not know as a child, that I could not save my parents, or anybody, that it was not my responsibility, nor my right, to choose for anybody, but myself, a deep need to help, somehow, someway, got very much in the way, again. The exact, specific answers to all the exact & specific why’s I allowed myself to forget that oh so important life lesson through this chapter of another mini-life, I don’t know all of. I do feel strongly one of those answers is because I began begging for answers. Begging is a very unhealthy unholy energy & feeds a very powerful energy of lack. Another I feel is because I began to desperately want to help, as well. And again, for me, since desperation is another unhealthy energy, it held a different vibe than truely desiring to give it. That seemingly slight shift wasn’t really slight at all, but rather a powerful turning back towards a very powerful energy that comes when we feel our actions driven by need as opposed to desire. But, the totality of them, I honestly don’t know, only that they are as complicated as an already complex story was turned into.
My own choice to let that co-creation to happen, yes, absolutely. I could never deny my responsibility to a trueth taught through my many years on the spiritual quest after an abortion was the brutal catalyst to finally begin the journey to find the him I’d been searching for since childhood. And he had taught me beautyfully, helping me to embrace a God that never punishes, nor controls or is uncontrolled, not only never avenges but never, ever judges either. Instead, one at peace who gives the most graceful gifts that all stem from that place of peace. Yet, that trueth, alongside another of mine, that that choice was not intentionally disregarded, nor deliberately turned away from as it came face to face with some of my most faithless moments & scariest memories from youth has allowed me the gift to be kinder & gentler to myself again through some times I have actually, writhed in the pain of a very harsh agony. As hard, harsh, or unholy as I have felt treated by any outsider, I accept has been my own self, my realest & truest insider, that has inflicted the most pain on me. I don’t think there is a more important or precious a lesson to try to keep & hold close while traveling anywhere, for any reason, but most especially, through the toughest times of life, than of loving your own self in the best & most beautyFull way possible, trusting it is the best & most beautyFull way you will ever be able to love anyone else. And when it feels like I’m losing it again, trusting the intention I set so long ago, to find him, & move through life together, trusting the Universe will always reach for my hand as it guides me back to my God. But I have to keep reaching for him. A gentle God who inspires a gentle me. Moving from a damaged, misguided belief it was my responsibility to do as much as I could, as long as I could, for everybody I could, because real survival of lives depended on me to do that had produced some damaging results. When I had finally chosen want & desire to be my reasons to ever do anything, I was able to make some changes to my life I had long been longing to make. It was from that special place I made each & every choice I did in every aspect that was involved through the process to end my marriage. It made that brutal, heartwrenching time of pain that came with ending the relationship one I made it through because of the peace of heart that came with the kindness & gentility I wanted to give to my ex. Given what his future would include because of a dedicated, heroic career as a 1st responder with the FDNY my lawyer disagreed with many of my choices & advised me strongly against. I take not just full responsibility for them, but, where there are other choices I made in other areas & times through this journey I might choose differently from the place I am in now, in the hindsight gifted through reflection & review, the ones she advised against in her role as lawyer even though as a human shared her admiration for, continue to foster peace within, knowing as much as financial security is a very real part of our human lives, & much as Larry had provided such a sense of stability for me in so many other areas as well in our earlier years together that had allowed me to feel safe & protected, a critical factor I’m sure in my attraction to him, amongst so many other beautyFull qualities about him that drew me to the very good man I would choose to marry, I finally was able to allow stability, of any sort, to rest in peace. It felt a perfect balance. Of course I took her advice on some important decisions regarding my future, yet, I also followed my own heart & insight in what she suggested was fair & right & just. And that rest allowed my heart to risk a very different devotion in one of the most sacred relationships we have as humans, intimacy in the sexual relationship with my most significant partner. I never could have given Larry that kindness or gentility, in any of the choices I made regarding our separation & divorce, not only the ones that included the legal contract that would uncouple us if I was not in the same place of peace & kindness inside my own self I had finally moved into that had allowed me to finally make the choice to end it. It was that very feeling of beauty inside myself…of peace & trust & safety, & worthiness, inside me, that I prayed to give back everything, if it meant Ray could feel that very same beautyFull feeling inside himself too.
Making my way back to a trusting God who believed I was sacred, holy, valuable, worthy of whatever my heart desired, not even capable of committing sins against myself or my fellow man never mind having to forgive me for those sins, after feeling he was gone has been the journey through Another Happy Ending. My attempt to heal a real, true, beautyFull too but broken heart syndrome. One my own brain gave much assistance to breaking. My father chose that journey after a long time feeling told by life he needed to suck it up, that that’s what life was…a long, slow, painful, heavy meant to be carried burden for humans. Burdens he was buckling under trying to do that dealing with through much of his life. And he helps me on my own.
7) HOW IS RAY ROMANO CONNECTED TO YOU?
Ray is the 3rd man I shared about my relationship with in Everything and a Happy Ending.
On the 1st page of the 1st chapter I share an important difference that took much of my life before the book to be able to discern…
‘Because of the difference that I believe exists between wanting to have privacy & needing to be hidden in your life, I have no intention to share details for the sake of simply putting them out there. Much will remain private, & what is shared will be for only one reason: because I believe sharing the gifts I received through some of these experiences might offer something positive to someone who may connect with it.’
Writing and publishing were both done for Ray, as well for myself. For Ray&me. For us. As in we. I did not choose to share that publicly at the time of publishing. But was shared privately. I wanted to keep that privacy. For him. For me. For us. As in we.
And I made that choice for the same reason I made every other choice in my life from the moment Ray and I had committed ourselves to each other, from the intention, & in the place I was in when we made it to one another…the desire to protect him, help him, nurture, inspire, & love him. Whether I feel in hindsight each choice was right, wrong, perfect, imperfect, good, bad, or seem insane to some, the place is a place I never walked away, ran away, nor sped away in any way shape or form from, but very much the opposite. Another Happy Ending shares my journey to keep my feet planted in the same precious place he was promised they were. A place they stayed. A place they remain.
It is what is real to me. It is what is true to me.