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Monday, January 24, 2005

One would never have guessed that there would be at least one more love story to be lived ... .

About a decade ago I settled for living the rest of time out in interesting vignettes, if luck held out, but never did I dream that there could be more. "Love among the ruins" is more than a great title for a drama about liaisons among the elders. There is a totally different kind of love relationship to be experienced; one not dependent upon those things that justified the investment in the past -- each in the other -- procreation, financial security, social status, etc., but one that stands alone and free of the need for caution and without time considerations. Every day is an eternity. Every day starts with promise and a preciousness now clearer than at any other time in my life. Each day sharpens both the joy and the pain of existence, if only because we're living in such a delicate balance between the two. How we spend this luxury of time has become of critical importance even while we're enjoying the lightness of being created by the knowledge that the world we'll be leaving is no longer able to hold us accountable. Our ability to effect change is now minimal so love can now move back into the foreground and purpose can recede back into negative space.

Time has been so much kinder to me than to him. I'm still active and physically blessed with extraordinarily good health. Because of his physical limitations, I'm required to slow my pace through life and am therefore seeing the world far more sharply than before. It's as though someone has changed the focus on the lens. Strange. I'm aware of every step that I take now. Holding onto his arm as we amble along is now out of pure necessity. When I forget to do so, I find myself ten steps ahead and constantly running back in embarrassment at my insensitivity. But it works for me. Even weeds thrusting violently upward through cracks in the sidewalk now get my attention. I'd forgotten the power in such natural phenomena -- and appreciate again the metaphor such images provide when needed.

Yesterday we returned to the S.F. MOMA and viewed the permanent exhibit of retro photographers, Edward Steichen, Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, and re-visited the Modernists furniture -- Charles Eames et al with those wonderful chairs.

We're making plans to take a trip to the Ashland Shakespeare Festival in April; something I've never done. There we will see Richard III as well as August Wilson's Ma Wilson's Black Bottom, among several plays, both contemporary and medieval.

On Thursday evening of this week he will attend the Artist's Reception at NIAD (National Institute for Artists with Disabilities) where Dorian has 3 paintings on exhibit. She needs to meet him. I've carefully chosen to bring them together for the first time in an environment where she is being celebrated and where she is known as her own person and not as an appendage to me or to anyone else. And in a way that her mental disabilities are not the most important fact about her. That feels important to me. She will surely see more of him in the future but the ground will have been laid in a way that benefits how that plays out, I think.

I've met all of his family now -- he arranged to bring us together at dinner recently. I'd not done that yet. Only told my sons about him over the past ten days or so. Haven't heard from one son, but David's response was "Be happy, Mom. You've earned it. Dorian has been well prepared for living without you over these many years, and she can surely manage to take care of herself in the apartment alone while you're away. And, I'm only ten minutes away and will see that she's safe and well." Our roles are being reversed. I was a permissive and trusting mother and he's now being a permissive and trusting son. Nice.

Maybe now I can give myself over to living more fully another chapter of this extraordinary life of mine. There are some new parts of myself to explore -- bits of me not revealed in earlier relationships. I trip over newness as these moments flash by, and I sense new possibilities still unfolding.

I'm certain that neither of us thinks beyond the next few months. Anything more would be foolish. But for the first time in my life, NOW is more than enough and TOMORROW is simply irrelevant.

He's a very dear man from whom I may be learning to see one more face of love ... .

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