A new kind of anniversary


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TMI? The life of artists… Kevin used to model for figure drawing back in the day, and could snap into the contrapposto pose easily (the same pose Michelangelo’s David). This beautiful pose makes the most of male nudes, so he would allow me to sketch him from time to time.

This is intensely personal, and I’ve only told one person this, but when Kevin took his last full breath, I accidentally breathed in as he breathed out.

I didn’t know it would be his last breath.

I simply woke up, checked on him, and inhaled as he exhaled. I literally inhaled his last, full breath. I was too stunned to think about it in depth at the time, but I knew it was important. You know how a cathedral’s architecture looks important? That kind of majestic importance is what I’m talking about. Like people who keep their cool when they see a movie star, I had to stay calm and continue the spiritual business at hand, in spite of being at the threshold of awe and heartbreak: I blessed him, put holy water on him, and prayed.  I reasoned I would have lots of time to think later, and I was right about that.

My friend said this was beautiful, so I thought I’d share it. I guess in a way it is beautiful, because it’s one of the few things about that whole experience that doesn’t make me cry.  I think of this intimate, incredible, simply profound moment often. It makes me wonder if Kevin is with me, or passed through me, even for a second. I thank him he had the trust and humility to share his last breath with me. He trusted I would let him go, and I did – and sometimes hate myself for that. But I did out of deference to him and his body’s quitting time, for lack of a better word.

Perhaps this is too private to share?

I want the story here, as it continues the story of us and our against-all-odds relationship – fraught with crooked roads and detours to finally meet – only to find we shared an entire paralleled past. How fitting to end with a breath when our entire lives we sought the other, knowing somehow, intuitively, the other existed.

As humans we strive to connect, communicate and understand. Perhaps for milliseconds he lived through me. Perhaps sometimes he still does. I thank him for his last breath every day.

We’ve all had different experiences with his passing to help us cope. Some of the kids’ lives are cushioned with fabulous good fortune, all in order, to ease their heartache. Some have dreams, visions, visitations or physical contact, some get goosebumps.

My gift was his last breath.

It’s critical we share these gifts with each other, and accept that we don’t know why one of us gets one experience verses another. We don’t understand this language yet, or the how’s and why’s. I’m just glad we get anything.

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A drawing I made about heaven years ago.

They say people will choose who is there when they pass over. Often people wait until no one is there, so as not to burden anyone, and to not be prevented or prohibited to go. Kevin stopped breathing earlier that day, and I panicked and said, “NO!” and like a scolded boy (although unresponsive otherwise) he immediately resumed breathing again after my ‘command’.

I never cease to be amazed at the trust and humility he had to be willing to go with me there. I think I was the one who could be there, because – although desperately reluctant to let him go – I knew it was time to do so. He knew I did everything I could do, and was patient to let me try everything and anything to help him. No one else would or could have let him go. I was able only because I knew on some level that I had to.

When I realized what was going on, I quickly said a prayer for Kevin, then when Brad walked in, I asked him to pray with me over him again, and Kevin took three more, very short breaths. But his full breath was in me, my lungs, and I keep this with me as a memory.

A medium later told me it was my turn to help him die, and that in a previous life he did this for me. It doesn’t make it easier, but it does make me wonder about the boundless grandness of spirituality. Karma is a bitch, ain’t it?

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A detail from my apparent 30-year-old prophetical drawing showing me praying for Kevin’s affected side. I sometimes wonder if the ‘clouds’ in my lungs represent his breath.

I’ve heard it said that spirit is like wind. In Genesis, God breathed the breath of life into man, and the man became a living person. There are many references to spirit, the holy spirit and breath or wind. When I hear the wind chimes in Kevin’s memory garden, I say hi to Kevin. Music is formless like the spirit, so I figure wind and sound are part of an unknown heavenly language.

5 years; 1st year

Today I celebrate a new kind of relationship with Kevin: our fifth anniversary, and first in year in spirit. I read somewhere that when a spirit stays with someone, or if  we pine too much for that person, it can cause them to have trouble moving forward.

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Another sketch about heaven done years ago.

One widow like me had this concern put to rest when a medium said, “Your husband is not being held back by being with you, because part of his heaven was being with you, so you take nothing from him by having him near. You are, in part, his heaven.”

That’s what I like to think. Maybe Kevin is near because he simply wants to be. And I hope he will be a part of my world – our world – going forward. The most important part of Kevin’s universe were the people he loved. We, and our love, are part of his heaven. I know that about him. I know he would want to be near us because we are his joy.

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I don’t know what lies ahead. I think I will work hard to create. I will design a life that eliminates as many concerns as possible, so I can draw, paint, write, create, give, and laugh. But the nice thing is that I move forward with Kevin’s spirit with me – physically at first, and spiritually now.

In regard to Year Five, I can say this: He will be with me with every breath I take, and he will be watching and waiting.

Happy Anniversary my dear.

This song, by Art Garfunkel, always sounded like “Kevin knows how we will get there” to me. It always reminded me of Kevin and played a lot on my ipod when we first met.

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