It was Tuesday night at exactly 8:44 p.m. when the news arrived on my phone. My high school sweetheart dead at age 59. Cancer.
We hadn’t spoken in about ten years. He married the other love of his life after high school ended and life separated us. But even through the turmoil and messy stuff between us, we always had a special connection.
His death also started me thinking. Something I know he’d appreciate. His quest for finding meaning - even in the most mundane of circumstances - was just another quirky thing we shared.
My thoughts this week have all been about how we show up for one another. So often we are only comfortable after we feel that another person has changed for us. We want people to understand our heart. We long to feel seen and heard. Of course, none of this adds to our sense of security at all, but we fake ourselves into believing that we are safe. All the while, we suffer in silence and try to prove who we are through acts of kindness, massive success or self-sacrifice.
Death changes us. When we lose people we love through their physical disappearance it pierces our soul. We think differently. We become transformed whether we realize it or not.
This loss hits hard because this sweetheart in my life never wanted me to change for him. He knew I saw his heart - and he saw mine. We heard one another. We saw each other. We felt safe - until we didn’t. He was THE first person who truly accepted me without conditions. That is healing, and it’s also something I’ve carried with me for 40 years.
My challenge for you - for each of us - is that we begin to see ourselves. To look deeply within. To try our very best to love unconditionally. To be present. To listen. To see the hearts in others. To authentically share ours.
RIP, my first love. RIP.