We made it just a month shy of June 6th, what would have been our two year anniversary.
A few months before, I thought we would make it to June…and beyond. I prayed we would. At moments, I could picture a long life together. I wanted to believe it possible.
So much goodness danced between us, that made day to day life happier in many ways. Having a quirky and caring companion to share the mundane with…to laugh and cuddle with. That so much love and goodness was there, made letting go of what was ultimately not the right fit for each of us, that much more painful.
In my hopeful days, I saw a future together, but it was one that depended on my mate showing up differently than he wanted or knew how. I grew tired of striving and forcing, of initiating the long talks that never came to resolution, and I guess he, too, became tired of knowing I wanted more, of not just being able to be himself, to relax and experience ease in relationship.
We stopped and restarted in the winter, tried (briefly) couples counseling. I read relationship books and binged on podcasts about attachment styles and conscious loving. I questioned what were true needs from a primary relationship and what can be fulfilled from friendships and other connections. I wondered, frustrated at myself, how someone could be such a kind and wonderful person but still not be the right partner for me.
I came to a deep knowing that the romance was over, accompanied by fear of losing this wonderful friendship, and frozen with sadness as the dream of our future changed and our journey as partners came to a close. Too frozen to act. I hung and clung on a bit longer, though our connection became more strained and I depended on our therapist to help mediate misunderstanding.
My love for him, and for us, prevailed through all the difficulty, and for me, it was important to put that love in front of everything else, and to have that shape how we forged ahead in moving forward as friends.
I was so grateful he had the courage to end our relationship and so grateful, as well, he was open to being in ritual with me to honor our past, acknowledge the present, and bless the future (and for allowing me to share this here). Inspired partly, by one of the million podcasts I listened to, an interview with author Katherine Woodward Thomas on Neil Sattin’s Relationship Alive (episode 21, for those curious to hear), when she shared her own experience of moving through loss gracefully, in partnership with her now ex-husband. Because they didn’t go into detail about what a closing ceremony might entail, I meditated on how to ritualize our parting. Here’s what I came up with:
Step One: Use sage to cleanse his home
Step Two: Use sage to cleanse one another
Step Three: Sit in silent meditation together 5-10 minutes (we did 7)
Step Four: Express gratitude for the relationship, speak to the gifts and lessons (Also in meditation, I typed up some prayer-like reflections on the purpose of relationship and the how we might find strength in letting go)
Step Five: Say some words to release the relationship and wish for each other’s highest good
Step Six: Light a candle and select 2 scrolls each from a vessel, each with 1 word blessing to mark a new beginning
Step Seven: Back alone in my home, sage to cleanse my living space
The ritual was very healing and love-filled for us both. If you can move back into love enough to remember what brought and bonded the 2 (or more) of you, this is a very beautiful way to say goodbye to the shared romantic vision, and transition into something new.
“I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings.” -Gandhi