The Secrets of the Water Lilies

I’ve been reading through some of my journals. Like everything, it’s difficult. I’m so thankful I wrote and so disappointed I didn’t write more.

Write, my friend. You and yours will never regret you recording the priceless moments in ink.

I read my own story, and details of our first anniversary flooded me. He surprised me and took me to Carmel. It was an extravagant surprise. We walked on the velvety white beach, ate gourmet food and took in the art galleries. He ordered room service, crepes and the most delicious raisin sourdough toast. Somehow these comforted my queasy pregnant tummy.

We looked at the world class art as if we were connoisseurs sharing our thoughts and opinions. I asked what pieces he liked best. He chose a vibrant water lily painting and an enormous life like oceanscape, it was taller than us and possibly eight to ten feet wide. As the viewers, we were engulfed into the scene. The colors were deep and dark except for the top corner. There, being tossed by the storm was a struggling ship, an angel illuminating the waters around it.

He was so mesmerized, he committed a sin. Slowly and gently he reached out toward the light filled waters on the canvas. I thought his touch might unleash a flood of crashing waves that would sweep us away. I can still feel the anticipation inside me, can still see those two young lovers.

He did that.

I did that.

All our life-

Mesmerized by beauty and power, he reached for the light.

And I watched in love and awe

And waited for the flood.

Part 2

They were floating in the pond in front of her brother's artist studio. Our hostess had insisted on taking us on a hike up to the top of the mountain to witness the sun setting over France. We meandered up the trail as she pointed out wild herbs growing along the path. Jasmine spilled over stone walls sweetening the experience with their fragrance. Rustic grape trellis held up sleepy vines and birds sang their evening songs. White lilies floated elegantly, holding the wishes of hearts who dreamed of walking on water.

You held my hand and led me to the top of the world that evening. Pastel hues painted the heavens, our children smiled and I was warm and safe and happy in your arms on a cliff in the sky.

I’m learning about dissociation, understanding how I have been intuitively trying to hold up our life and beautiful memories against this agonizing pain and the strange feeling of illusion in an attempt to ground myself.

Dissociation is a safety mechanism our beings use to protect us from too much pain. Our body becomes numb and we disconnect from the present reality. I’ve been floating in it since you left and as I try to regain my footing, it has become clear that as normal, and helpful as dissociation is, I have spent too much of my life there, unaware of this automatic response to trauma.

You grounded me in your embrace, in your love, in your commitment. You helped me feel the realness and the goodness of my life. It was dreamy in a healing way, like walking on water and balancing on lilies and knowing I wouldn’t sink.

Water Lily Art

I sketched what was in my mind’s eye a few weeks ago. For 26 years Angelo cradled my heart when it was hurt or disappointed and in need of care. He extended tenderness because he loved me. He healed me time and again with his faithful loving kindness.

I’ve felt my heart ripped from my chest, dragging behind me over rubble and thorns. I felt a torturous stretching and tearing, while the fibers of our love refused to break. I’ve felt a black void that no other voice or touch or scent can enter. I’ve felt the emptiness around the brokenness where his heart and hands belong.

I’m learning that

It is I

Who will

Hold my heart now

When I feel like

I am


I will look around and


The great pain that change

Brings with grief


I will also see and affirm

The great beauty

In other forms of change and growth

As I keep myself still

So as not to capsize

In this grief

I will recognize

The sacredness of this safe space

That it is enough

To be silent and still

Enough to keep me afloat

So I can hold my heart

Until I reach a shore


Until enough safe spaces

Grow around me

Grow together

To create a bog of safety

I’ll watch and wait

Look for safe lights

As I cradle my heart

And listen to

The song of the dragonfly

And the stories of the frog

Your fragrance will

Permeate my thoughts

I’ll wait for life

To jump out of my tears

While I float on the safety

Of your love.

Until you help me

Walk on water

October 2021