The ecstasy of connection
I have come to realize that connections we have with people never really go away.
In moments when I’ve been angry and frustrated with life I’ve convinced myself that connections die, but that was only vulnerability and fear.
Connections don’t die.
They may change, become stronger or weaker, but they don’t die.
And that has scared me. For good reason.
Let me explain.
One of my boyfriends when I was in my late teens killed himself in his early 30s. He and I were incredibly in love when we were together. We were totally open with each other and consumed with our passion for each other. We had an instant and deeply profound connection to each other.
We lost touch after we broke up and I did not see him again.
At some point in my early 30s I started thinking about researching suicide. It was a very strong urge. And I did. I found out the stats on suicide and that it is mostly men that do it. Women try it too, but men invariably succeed. I did not know where the strong urge came from. I was not suicidal at all. After a while the urge waned.
A few years later I decided to look up my old boyfriend, to see where he was and what he was up to. He had a very unusual name so was usually easy to find.
I couldn’t find a phone record for him however, and I persisted until I found something.
It popped up and I was instantly stunned, and then burst into tears. I cried for over two hours without stopping. I was horrified.
A piece of me had been ripped from my heart.
He had been dead already 4 years before I knew. All that time I’d imagined him alive. Somewhere.
He was not.
And I looked at the date he died and remembered. I’d had a dream. A dream where he’d come to my door with a bag of dirty laundry over his shoulder. He was dirty and broken and he asked if he could sleep on my couch. I said no, I was living with my boyfriend and he couldn’t stay with us. I closed the door in his face.
That was the night he died.
When I realized that was the night, I was stunned. He had come to see me, come to stay with me and I had closed the door in his face. And he was dead.
To say this affected me deeply is the biggest understatement of my life. I felt so upset that I’d sent him away. I felt somehow partly responsible for his death. I mourned him. I carried a photo of the two of us embracing everywhere. It lay beside my bed when I slept.
And then I got really mad. He was gone and I felt as if he’d taken all our memories, all our past together with him. I felt as if it never happened because I couldn’t share those memories with anyone living. And I was so angry he’d done that. How could he leave me here? Alone? With all our amazing memories. Our moments of passion, our laughter, our simple times sleeping side by side. His smile, his laugh, the way he bounced when he walked. How could he leave me without being able to ever experience them again?
How could he?
But he had.
And I have been coming to terms with it ever since.
I’m no longer angry with him, but I still mourn him.
And sometimes I still feel him. Not the way I used to. I feel him through other people sometimes. I see someone with his hair, or his physique, and I remember. I see someone bouncing when they walk and it’s him for just a moment.
And recently someone has been loving me like he did, and I know the connection is still there. Somehow I know he’s in this man’s arms, chest, lips and heart. In all of him somehow.
And I am sorry my old boyfriend gave up. Felt he couldn’t go on. I think we’ve all felt like that at some point I’m just sorry he actually took himself away from us.
The connection still scares me but not as much, and I have learned never to close the door. And I will never again. We all have to face our deepest fears. Mine is that someone I love will be taken from me.
And it has happened. But I’m still here. And I still have the courage to love with all my heart. And I will give my heart again, because with no pain there is no ecstasy.
And he and I most certainly had that between us.
The ecstasy of connection.