Grief Healing

I Want to Go Where You Go

Fort Vancouver Garden where Paul volunteered as a Master Gardener.

Note: This post is a personal post to move through the passing of my boyfriend of one year Paul on Monday, November 2nd.

Like the movie scene with Meg Ryan “I’ll have what she’s having,” Paul always wanted to go where I went. Whether it was a hike in the forests, riding my bike fast, looking at the blue moon, camping in Northern Washington, engaging with gnomes, attending a Fairy Tea Party.

Even things he normally was not keen to experience, if I was going there he wanted to come.

Paul had a very sweet sensitivity that seemed to blossom with our time together. He was retired. He had lots of time. He wanted to spend all his time with me. It was sweet. And, I had to set some boundaries as I am self-employed and need lots of creative time and space. Still, we had lots of time to adventure together.

Paul was retired from a career as a high-level risk manager. He worked in business with billionaire bosses and in academia at Syracuse University. He was very intelligent and skilled at his negotiating, problem solving, creative strategizing. I wouldn’t be surprised if IQ was up there.

He came into relationship with me, opposites in many ways. I am an alternative, free-spirited, adventurist, spiritual-shamanic teacher, change agent, earth mama.

Yes, we were very different.

I believe that’s how we sparked each other.

Our souls knew and loved each other regardless of our outer personalities and beliefs. And we share a love of the plants, trees, nature, and humanity.

Sometimes I would get annoyed or hold up my stubborn beliefs. So did Paul. Then we watched as our mirrors projected at each other. It took some surrendering to let go of the small stuff and see into the heart of this gentleman. The joy came when we could openly communicate and admit our projections. I’m sorry. This is my stuff.

It was beautiful to be with someone who could be vulnerable and shed tears, feel pain of abandonment, and know it was his own issue to heal.

Sam, a friend of Paul’s son, described Paul to Phill. “Your dad is suave. He was like Sean Connery.”

I laughed and then it clicked. Paul used to hold the car door open for me. He always asked if things were okay. He went out of his way to do the right thing and to respect me. Super attentive to my needs. And he was a master at many secret skills after a lifetime of rich (and hard) experiences. Unlike James Bond 007, Paul was not a womanizer. His attention for women went to me alone.

And this gentleman wanted to go where I went… even into awareness of the fairy realms, gnomes, unicorns. He wanted to help me with my Earth School. He grew interested in what I offered the world even when he didn’t understand it. “You don’t really believe unicorns are real, do you?”

Once he told me that he had never met anyone in his life whose work was so blended with who they are.

He volunteered in the Fort Vancouver Gardens in Vancouver, Washington where they have a tunnel that is covered with hop vines. When we were walking through it one day and taking photos of the beautiful riot of colorful flowers, I called it a fairy tunnel. “Fairies live here,” I stated.

Paul got the idea to make a little sign for the kids: FAIRY TUNNEL.

We went to DollarTree and found a perfect little sign. He excitedly bought glitter and glue and spent all day creating this little sign. He was so proud of it. Each letter was a different color.

The next time he volunteered, he secretly placed the sign in the tunnel. During this time, I created artwork that included a unicorn (see photo) so he decided to tell the kids that fairies and unicorns lived in the tunnel and if they look real close they may see them.

The kids loved it.

The other volunteers came on board. But that same evening the supervisor visited and saw the sign. She said, “Take that down. It’s not historically accurate.” The Fort Garden prides itself on only growing plants that are historically accurate.

(I thought about this later and realized that this may not be a true statement since many of the settlers were of European ancestry where fairies where celebrated especially if you go back far enough.)

They took down the sign. But ever Tuesday and Thursday morning when the volunteered worked, they quietly took turns placing the sign in the tunnel for the kids.

Paul did come with me… and it changed him and it changed me.

In our year together, Paul came with me lots of places. Even though he had a 72-73 year-old body we went horseback riding, camping, biking, hiking, swimming in cold mountain lakes (he hated cold water), had fairy-unicorn-gnome discussions, a Fairy Tea Party. He was up for almost anything.

In his passing, I feel Paul coming along with me again. (Or maybe I’m coming along with him.) Now, it is a spiritual way. He was not so attuned to his spiritual nature. His body, age, life trauma, beliefs about God don’t matter anymore.