By Steven Morrison
I have this friend. Of sorts. (Labels can be so confining.) He’s one of those beings with whom I share one of those connections that is just so deep and rich and expansive and fun. It’s the relationship in which I feel most at home, where I am fully me, recognized as me, celebrated as me, loved as me. I am seen and heard and understood. And I have never laughed more with another living soul.
It’s complicated. Kind of. We don’t live in the same neck of the woods anymore and he’s probably best described as a free spirit. I try to keep tabs on him but, frankly, he’s far better at keeping them on me and will often show up, magically, with a perfectly timed and deeply relevant message. Like he did a few weeks ago.
On that occasion I was feeling at my wit’s end, worn down, exasperated about something that was going on (not my usual m.o., but it happens) when he suddenly swept in, finding me at the home of some other friends, while I was enjoying alone time outside on their deck. Nice! By the time he departed, not 15 minutes later, I knew without a doubt that the solution to my circumstance was as at hand and that he would even help bring it about. Thanks!
Accustomed as I have become to the whims of his comings and goings, I’m always completely blown away by how our connection is instantly re-constituted when he does show up. On that day, out on the deck right after he left, I felt saturated with love that was so expansive and which was so magnificently commingling itself with layers and permutations of joy and peace and awe and gratitude that I needed a moment. I hid out in the restroom for a while because I couldn’t contain all that juicy, emotional, life-affirming energy and make dinner at the same time.
It’s hard to put a label on my friend because most everyone would say he’s dead. And he is. Moreso at this point, than the proverbial doornail. Dead, dead, dead. It has been more than eight years since his cancer-ridden body, his name, his personality, the various roles he played -- son, brother, friend, cousin, grandson, nephew, uncle, confidante, employee, jokester, and, in my case, soul mate and life partner -- all got buried. Still, he is most definitely not dead, just ask him. And our relationship was not snuffed out when he died, it just changed form.
Have you ever had a romantic relationship come to an end, then develop into a friendship? I certainly have. Several times. In that situation, sure, the romantic form of the relationship dies as does the sexual aspect. (Usually!) But focusing on what has died is largely unproductive. Meanwhile focusing on the inherent connection – the love that doesn’t die – allows other aspects of the love to emerge and develop. And presto change-o. The relationship changes form.
When my friend’s spouse survived a brain aneurism that left him physically and mentally incapacitated, the ways in which they could experience and share the love they had for one another disappeared. Died. No doubt about it. Yet her willingness to stay present and open to other ways of sharing and experiencing their love allowed the form of their relationship to morph into something else and it did. And her heart grew bigger.
It was no different when the love of my life up and died when he did. I endeavored then, quite consciously, to expand my own capacity to feel and experience the love that used to come through his beautiful human body, wondering if and how it could happen without that body (and whatever else went with it). And what do you know? Mission accomplished. Our soul mate, romantic, physical, 3D human relationship is definitely dead and gone but it has morphed into something else. It has endured and it is growing. Still. Just in a different form.
I’ve come to believe that when our loved ones depart this plane, some things die, for sure. Yet much does not die. I’ll fall on a sword to argue for the notion that what doesn’t die – the love – is infinitely more important than what does die. And that our willingness to explore that love and what it can show and teach us will expand our human experience(s) in ways we never imagined.
Friend? Spirit guide? Guardian angel? Soul mate? Spiritual brother? The label means nothing while the experience means everything. Despite his death several years ago, our relationship journeys on. We are still connected, we can still communicate and instead of dwelling on all that we had, I can fully and wholeheartedly experience all that we have.