March 5, 2021, Phoenix- She took her last breath, ten years ago this morning. She was still warm to the touch, as I walked to the side of her bed, having arrived three minutes too late for a real-time goodbye. Yet, when I had awakened, an hour before, in our home of eight years, the bedroom we had shared was filled with a very heavy energy, the likes of which I have not experienced before or since. At the hospice site, our son and I were greeted by an upwardly swirling of dust, on an otherwise still morning.

Today, I returned to the gravesite I have visited so many times, this past decade. This time, I sat for the better part of an hour, praying and meditating. There was a couple looking for a loved one’s grave, which turned out to be on the other side of the cemetery. Otherwise, I was in solitude with the spirit of my spouse of twenty-nine years.

Penny has long since transitioned to a better place. I am still in transition to being a better person. In this past ten years, I have broken trust three times, been called out for it, almost immediately and learned to do better. I have had my integrity, with regards to how I view women, called into question and after initially taking umbrage at the criticism, done a deep dive into exactly how change was in order. It has been well worth the soul search. While I am still peripatetic at my core, being part of a community is more essential to me, than it had been in years past.

I had a groundswell of support, during the five months after Penny’s transition. It was ironic that some of those who were warm with their words, immediately afterward, were later so vicious in their attacks. They have long since vanished from my life. Family members are there, when I need them, and I, when they need me, Mostly, though, the contacts are short and sweet-and their lives don’t intertwine with mine so much any more. It is partly physical distance; partly the fullness of each others’ lives-and it may well change, as time goes on and disease abates. It is my core of friends, who also ebb and flow with their presence, who keep me honest and forging onward.

Today ends one decade of living transition and begins another. I wonder, as to how it might feel to be an octogenarian, in 2031. In the meantime, there is much on which to work and life from which to learn.

8 thoughts on “Transitions

  1. Gary — This is a very loving tribute to Penny! I hope that your inner reflection has brought you closer to the truth that in many ways women are no different than men — both are people, worthy of respect and needing to respect others, no matter their gender. Yes — we are different in our approach to each other, but that respect is at the heart of respect and happiness!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Janet. Yes, my sense has long been that women are, essentially, no different from men. The rub for me was all the cultural baggage that I let myself internalize, and it took a drubbing from a perfect stranger (also a man) to get me to take a hard look at “micro” attitudes that needed to be jettisoned.

      Liked by 2 people

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