When Scott and I met, we both expressed our desire to be authentic and real in our relationship. To not hide blemishes. To bring everything out in the open. To experience our love for each other in the most expanded way possible and to keep working at it. To love each other for who we were, not who we wanted or needed the other person to be.
When we scheduled our first date, I let Scott know that I wasn't dressing up. I didn't wear make-up. I would be wearing boots and jeans, I wouldn't have time to shower first after taking care of horses. I would be scruffy and messy with barn hair.
This is who I am, I told him. Take it or leave it.
With butterflies in my stomach and a small hope that maybe this date would work into something serious. I was always overly optimistic inevitably disappointed later, I walked into the cafe and spotted Scott at a table by the burger joint he had suggested.
Approaching the table, I slipped into the booth across from him and the words spilled from my mouth. "oh my god, you are real, a real guy". And then I suffered the worst hot flashes I had ever experienced. My face turned beet red and I started sweating profusely. Scott looked into my eyes and said "just breathe, it's going to be okay".
That pretty much sums up our relationship these last few years since our first date.
"just breathe, it's going to be okay".
As I sit here writing, experiencing profound grief and loss, I have committed to being fully awake and breathing through this journey. I allow myself to feel the full range of heartache, the pain, sobbing I've never experienced before, the letting go of what is going to happen one week, one month, three months, one year from now.
I am walking a path I have never walked before completely and utterly vulnerable allowing myself to be fully cracked open mind, body, and soul without medication, numbing, or distraction. I allow the memories, the loss to flood me. I take care of myself by drinking water, resting, eating what I can, talking to friends and family, writing, watching the clouds out the window, taking baths whenever I need one. I talk to Scott. I answer him when I receive his messages that come in many different forms which I will write about later.
No emotion or expression is wrong whether it's a horrible gut wrenching sobbing, a smile, a recognition, even laughter when I receive a message or memory that brings me a moment of relief.
Scott is not physically here, but we are both here walking this journey together. I am learning how to have a relationship with Scott in this new way. It is unfamiliar territory. There are no road signs. We are on our own navigating this together.
The nights are the most difficult part so far. The first night I held vigil all night, last night I slept fitfully crying out for him. I don't hold back my grief. I don't bury it, avoid it, or try to block it. As I allow myself to break open, a comfort calms me. Scott sends me a message. Surprising and profound.
Once in a while, I worry, what if I lose connection to Scott. Then. I remember what my therapist Howie said to me when I was grieving the loss of my best friend, my brother David to cancer twenty years ago. I asked Howie who will David be after his death here.
Without hesitation, Howie said "David will be the same David. You will know him like you knew him here."
When I knew for sure and received confirmation that Scott was my soulmate, the one I would be with forever. Scott was driving me to our second date, a night at the movies. David, my best friend, my brother's favorite Leonard Skynyrd's song Free Bird played on the radio. I smiled. The song had also played spontaneously on my car radio the night he transitioned. The song ended as Scott parked the car at the movie theater. We crossed the street to the movies as dark fell. In the theater, Scott and I sat close together, our arms touching, the lights turned off, and the movie started. Scott pulled a box of red vines out of his pocket and handed them to me. Surprised, I looked at Scott and said David always made sure he had a box of red vines for me when we went to the movies.
Scott looked at me and said "that's why I'm here, David sent me to take care of you now". Scott's favorite song is a Leonard Skynyrd song too. "Simple Man".
"just breathe, it's going to be okay"