by Gina Capristo-Gajdosik
I was in the library book store waiting for a friend to come pick me up and I spotted a particular book on the sales table. I culled two quarters from my bag and paid for it at the front desk, as if obeying a silent command. It turned out to be exactly the material I needed to read at this time in my life, not only for me, but to help guide my loved ones. There are two kinds of people in this world; those who fear death and those who are more concentrated on the living. I fit into the later group and I realize now that I always have.
Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser is about life’s inherent losses and how essential they are to our lives; where there is death or parting, there is also meaning. LIFE is fully orchestrated. If you understand this, death of a loved-one or an illness, a divorce or a separation now become life’s turning points for reflection; new pathways for the next leg of the trip. Lesser understands that nothing causes the need for reflection better than heartbreak. It does truly break open your heart, as we reach for a higher understanding and a greater love. I know first-hand how life’s sudden discoveries can blow open your chakras and send you on a spiritual path, as well as a creative one. We are with the people we need to be with, only for the time we need to be with them.
We have contracts with our soul-mates and when the work is done, it’s done. Only the wisest among us knows when to leave and when to re-examine. Sometimes the greatest gift of love you can give another is their freedom. Pain is often worsened when you ignore and postpone, deny and self-medicate. It reminds me of that very first dip in the ocean in early summer, it’s shocking but once you do it you’re in. When I was younger, I sometimes thought of life as cruel. Why did people have to die or get sick or leave? Now I understand that people leave because they must. It’s like a long, lovely group dance, people come and go, but everyone is connected and contributing to the dance of life. Physical life has an expiration date.
An elderly uncle of mine left his wife of 50 years for another, slightly younger woman he fell in love with at work. Most of the people in my family could not believe it or accept it. I didn’t have an opinion, I just missed him since he stayed away from the family for a few years. When he finally came back, he was the same wonderful person he had always been; he still looked after his first wife, brought her groceries and tried to remain connected to his kids and family. I went to visit him in the hospital on one of his final days and remember thinking how brave he was to seek something more at such an advanced age; happiness doesn’t have an expiration date. We are growing and learning and loving until the day we die.