Slowing Down

I can’t believe that the wedding is over. That it all actually happened and is said and done for now.

I don’t mean that in a mournful way. I think if we had waited a year, it still would have felt immense and swirling and over faster than we thought. I mean more that I almost can’t believe that it happened at all. That I got to get married, that I made it this far into my life, that such an unbelievably good thing was able to happen.

The last couple of years have been filled with a lot of good things. There have been graduations and writing accolades, huge life moves and falling in love, new jobs and beautiful places to live, incredible friends and a proposal from the person I love the most.

But for a long time in my life things were hard. My days were full of knotting tension and anxiety about the well being of people I loved. Then they were filled with loss and painful memories, loneliness and self-hatred. I think most of my adult life, so far, has been spent in a realm of fear and sadness and inner isolation.

When things began to turn around a couple of years ago, in large part to the work I was doing on letting go of those ways of being, it was like entering into a whole new world. Everything felt different, temperatures and textures, sounds and tastes, all evolved to suit this new way of looking at the world: a way that wasn’t so much about holding onto the past and all the sad things that happened but that was much more about consciously moving forward into the life I wanted to create for myself.

Easier said than done though. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: falling in love with Gregory was one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced. I was so afraid to invite something into my life that could have the potential to also become one of the greatest losses I’ll ever experience. In the beginning I could only think about how painful it would be to lose this person whom I already knew I would love more than I had ever loved anyone.

I still think about it a lot. I have a constant murmuring in the back of my head that says, please let me have this. Please let me have these days, these moments, this love. Please let me marry this man and start a family with him. Sometimes I find myself calculating how long would be enough. I think of my mother, who died when she was 58, and I think, that might be enough. If we had children in the next few years then they would be young adults by then. If I could only have that long, please, please let me have that.

Truthfully, all this time, throughout my twenties, I don’t think I thought that I’d ever get this far. Losing my parents and going through all that I did really did a number on my sense of mortality and the movement of life.

But now.

Now things are changing. Tears are in my eyes as I type this. I got to get married. I got to fall in love, to have this wedding, to go to sleep night after night next to this beautiful man whom I love and who loves me. All things I was so terrified would never happen. But they did. These facts and experiences, these moments and truths, they all stand just as as tall and as real as my parents’ deaths. The gain is beginning to equal the loss in the most profound way.

Realizing this forces me to continue reconfiguring all the things I thought about life. And it calms me and allows me to begin to release this urgency I carry around. It’s like an equation. If I was able to fall in love and get married then it suddenly seems quite possible that I could be able to have children one day and live a long and happy life. Whereas before, the equation read more like, if I can lose one person I love then I can lose another.

All this to say that for the first time in a long time, I have this feeling that I can slow down, that, if even for just a little while, I can stop obsessing over whether or not things will happen. That I can simply breathe and be in my life. That I can finish this post by simply saying how grateful I am for everything that my life is.



  • Posted July 25, 2008 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Claire – wow! This post. Very profound and inspiring. I could read more about this letting go of yours.

  • Wendy
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Aww Claire, I got tears in my eyes reading this post. It all did happen and I wish you and Greg a long and happy life together. As for kids, they will be the best thing that ever happens to you when they come along and then your life will change all over again.

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