For three decades, until his departure to a higher place, I loved dearly a man who was my polar opposite. He loved black ski runs, while I hardly got off the nursery slopes. He loved cocktails and rich, carnivorous foods, while I preferred an organic tea and simpler, vegetarian fare. We often exasperated each other, and had a few, minor separations, but the deepest devotion kept us mutually respectful, deeply caring and always pulled us swiftly back together.
It was a major struggle for me to cope with a foreign language, a supremely disciplined culture and country, and to face constant reflection of what was lacking in myself; but I look back and see how much growth took place in an atmosphere of acceptance, constant humour and warmest affection, for both of us. I became more like him and he became more like me and when he died, there was no love or gratitude unspoken on either his part or mine, although we had been unavoidably apart for weeks and were about to meet up again. In a way, it was as if our mutual education had been completed, despite my devastation. I was a much better, rounded and understanding person for having met him. He had slowly chipped away at my brittle edges, as much as I had softened his black and white approach to siituations.
The day before fate took him to his eternal home, we both remarked how far we had travelled in 100% harmony, whatever our quirks, and reaffirmed the deepest, appreciative adoration of the other. It was our last conversation; but it was typical of every letter, email and chat, for no expression of devotion and gratitude was ever left unsaid prior to the end of any communication. We lived in a permanent ambience of gratefulness for each other.
The moral of this tale is that where there is genuine, purest, selfless love, the energising sun is always shining brightly above the darkest clouds, as a high octane fuel of continuation. Only real love can pierce thick layers of challenge to keep going, however rocky, dark and alpine is the landscape of life and relationships below. Blessed are those who know this mutual love once; but to find it twice could be described as a miracle.