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  • Dear Mary,

    Real romance is so much more than any romance novel can tell. After the crush and the falling in love you start working on love, on loving what is not pink, on accepting the shadowside, your own and that of your partner. It is the work of a lifetime.

    As I have told you, I came of age in the 68s with free love and community living. I had sex with a lot of men. Rethinking my life, as I often do since I have hit 60 and know that my eyes are dying already, six men stand out. There was my first boy - friend, who loved me even without bosom. He cured me from my panic that no man would ever love me, because I did not have tits. My second man was a Turk, an archeologist, a communist and ten years older than I. I did not love him, but felt flattered, that such an "old" man loved me. He was the first one I had real sex with, he threw my bra filled with rubber foam out of the window. He introduced me to Sarte, Camus and Beauvoir. When he realized that I did not love him, he threatened to committ suicide and I fell into my first serious depression.

    Man number 3 was younger and I needed him to save me from man number 2.

    I did not love man number 3 and when he noticed this, he left me, which shattered me anyways, because I could not stand being alone.

    Real FREE love followed. Again 3 men stand out. Number 1 of this period was in a stable relationship with a 12 year older lady. Once I met her. We really hit it off. We enjoyed an afternoon feeling solidarity, like sisters, who love the same man very much. We both lost him eventually, because he came out of the closet as homosexual and then I lost track of him.

    Man number 2 was a smart lawyer, who reminded me of my dad. He was married and had just become a father. He and his wife and everybody around us fooled around with everybody else. One day I noticed that I wanted him to leave his wife, who also had become my friend, and choose me for his wife. He refused and my heart trembled.

    The last important man of this episode was a Chilenean social activist and fine musician. Married. I was sure that he would leave his wife, but he did not and my heart completely broke. But I was happy: I had loved as never before. I could imagine the rest of my life alone.

    I travelled to Mexico and met my husband.

    I notice today how I always searched for love, but in reality used the men a lot, for this, for that, mostly for security. I have not been too good at loving. I am working at it with my husband since 35 years. I do get to my limits once and again. Instead of learning how to love him better, I always return to complaining.

    He has his shadow - side and his side full of light: he is a wonderful father, cheff, photographer and very creative businessman.

    When I wake up at night and touch his warm body beside me, I also think of death: will he see me dead or will I have to see him dead?

    Mary, you say, there is no happy ending and so it seems.

    I think of Kathleen Cohn and her husband´s illness, of Immacolata, who describes her husband´s death. How could I ever survive without my husband? I imagine that I cannot. I will also die. Life will be over for me.

    Then I remember Byron Katie, a kind of wise woman from California. In one of her books she cites a friend. Her friend´s husband suffers a sudden heart attack and dies in the arms of his wife. The wife tells Byron Katie that their relationship was wonderful, round, complete and his dying so unexpectedly in her arms was the perfect end for their love, so much so that she never felt any incloination of mourning.

    It seems that is also possible. To be able to feel gratitude instead of fear, sadness and rage in the face of endings, I guess, we need to accept them completely.

    How can I ever get there?


    Art by Kiki (Growing Old Together)

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