While one lives, both stand

Grief puts funny ideas into your head.

For instance, for awhile back in March, I was convinced that Steve had left me — walked out of our partnership and left no forwarding address.  I couldn’t imagine why, and spent way too much time minutely reviewing our past, looking for my error.

Then I became convinced that we had gotten done at this house, and were moving on.  As has been the case in previous moves, Steve had gone on ahead, leaving me to clean up these last few things before I joined him.  This delusion is particularly pernicious because for those of us who speak Metaphor, it’s true.   Only it’s not.

Anyhow, it’s been my goal for some while now to find or create for myself a place of gratitude for having been privileged to share so much time, love, and magic; for having had Steve in my life.  While it’s certainly a very lonely, hard, and scary thing to no longer have him for back-up, for taking the lead, for producing surprising — and occasionally infuriating — insights — surely unrelenting misery was not the best lesson I could take from our life together.

So, I started looking for ways to achieve, at first, equilibrium.  I didn’t expect to leap from misery to gratitude.  I expected there to be a process, and backsliding, and all the things that attend the pursuit of any mighty goal.

Steve and I not only shared our mundane lives, but we shared an active and beguiling fantasy life.  The worlds we built, the people who live there, the lessons, the philosophies — those also fed the richness of our partnership and informed our mundane lives.

One of the things we said, between ourselves, is that we were lifemates — better together than apart, if not two halves of a wiser, more creative, and more patient being.

I got to thinking about that, about three weeks ago — lifemates.  In the Liaden Universe® that Steve and I had built together, lifemates — a true wizard’s match — meant that one spoke for both.  The trust in that is breathtaking, if you think about it, and yet — I trusted Steve to speak for me in matters, for instance, of health, if it came about that I could not speak for myself.  Steve had bestowed a similar trust on me.

Of lifemates it is said, While one is alive, both stand.  That struck me forcefully, especially as there is, in reality, still an Us to be tended, if only in terms of our work together, which isn’t finished yet.

I was still mulling this over as I was wandering through an arts festival a couple weeks ago.  I had visited one building, and talked briefly with a silversmith, passed on to buy cat toys, and was walking toward the next building when (Steve) said, very clearly,  “Maybe the silversmith could size my ring so it would fit you.”

And I thought — Yes. Maybe she could.  And then I would have visible proof, for comfort, and for those moments when the loss looms greater than the memory.

I walked back and asked the silversmith if she would size a silver ring for me.  She said yes, and I went home, got Steve’s ring and came back.

I picked up the resized ring today, and — I felt something click when I put it on my finger, and maybe I heard (Steve) laugh.

Below, our rings.  The ring on the left is mine; inscribed with Mette, the rune for courage. Made by Phil Jurus, oh-so-very-long-ago.  The ring on the right is Steve’s, and I sadly no longer remember the name of the rune for persistence. Also made by Phil Jurus.