“Lovers don’t suddenly meet. They live in each other all along.” -Rumi
I thought about this saying by Rumi when I received an e-mail from an Israeli woman by the name of Hadassa. She wrote to tell us about the sudden passing of her husband Shmulik. The two of them had attended an advanced couples workshop in Israel. During the workshop journey, they jumped up to demonstrate in front of the group how to “visit” each other’s worlds in the “neighborhood of appreciation.”
“During the whole summer after the workshop, Shmulik and I sat in the garden on erev shabbat (Hebrew for the eve of the Sabbath), and we told each other what we appreciated in each other. Our children asked us each week what we were doing. Our now three-year old daughter came out to join us, and hug us, and told the others “ima ve abba osim bikkur” (Hebrew for “Mommy and Daddy are doing a visit”) I sincerely hope she was taking some good pictures in her mind.”
Yes, as Hadassa says, our children are watching us and they take pictures of us in their mind. The brain is wired to continuously create an inner family album.
“The last visit of the workshop was “if you never see your husband again….”, and if you recall I burst into tears when I heard the instructions. I thought at the time that this was because we lived with this idea in the house, because of the death of my husband’s previous wife. But perhaps the subconscious knows more than we do. During that visit I told my husband how much I love him and that if he goes, I would take care of the children. And he told me how much he feels our relationship brings him to a place of netzach (Hebrew for infinity).”
“We also had an amazing visit about passages just two days before he died. I am terribly sad but I am also feeling very whole that we did the tikkun (Hebrew for repair, healing, transformation and completion) that we needed to do.”
David Whyte in his poem called JOY writes about love, joy and loss. The poem is from his collection called Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlaying Meaning of Everyday Words.
“If joy is a deep form of love, it is also the raw engagement with the passing seasonality of existence, the fleeting presence of those we love understood as gift, going in and out of our lives, faces, voices, memory, aromas of the first spring day or a woodfire in winter, the last breath of a dying parent as they create a rare, raw, beautiful frontier between loving presence and a new, blossoming absence.”
We now come back to Hadassa with the soulful words of David Whyte. In her deep wisdom, and her sense of wholeness, she truly knows and understands that “the fleeting presence” of the husband that she loves to infinity is indeed a gift, and that the last breath of her dying husband creates a “rare, raw beautiful frontier between loving presence and new, blossoming absence.”
Here is what I wrote to Hadassa:
“Your love story with Shmulik is one of the most inspiring stories of how a married couple fertilizes and sanctifies the soil between them, and then when the time comes to say good bye, they have collected the richest treasure of memories.”
And so I am thinking of Rumi’s quote:
“Lovers don’t suddenly meet. They live in each other all along.”
And I think to myself:
“Lovers don’t suddenly die. They live in each other all along.”