Carving out the capacity for love.
by Christopher Renstrom
I had adjusted to a breakup on December 28th. We remained friendly from a distance. A recent divorce (of his choice) was too painful and he felt a need to attempt to reconcile with his ex. The short story is that he committed suicide in the middle of February. A brilliant, accomplished, and deeply loved man is no longer with us. My heart is breaking. My mind is searching for answers that can’t be found. 2010 has started with a pretty dark cloud. Brighten my day or prepare me for what’s to come. I don’t need any more surprises. May 27, 1950.
I am sorry to hear about your loss. None of us can know what it’s like to face the kind of despair that results in someone taking his own life. He must have been in an impossibly lonely, dark and overwhelming place to do something like that. It’s unfathomable—especially for you who cared so deeply.
Yet anyone who dies lives on in the hearts of those who survive them. Various religions and spiritual beliefs speculate about the life and fate of the soul, but the simple act of you sharing his story attests to how immortality works in our lives. You’ve told us his story, and now he resides in our hearts and minds as well as yours. Some of us may not like hearing it and will close the door, while others may be at a loss as to what the point of his story might be. And then there are those of us who can’t help but be moved and wish that things could have turned out differently. Imagination, compassion, forgiveness and love are all soulful qualities. It is because of our soul’s capacity to empathize that we can picture what it’s like to walk in somebody else’s shoes. Our soul allows us to inhabit the lives of others, and as long as we come from that deeply sympathetic place then no soul is ever lost.
You were born under Gemini—the sign of the twins. And as a Gemini, you can’t help but see yourself mirrored in him. Your friend’s sorrow becomes your sorrow and that can feel like a tremendous burden. But if you accept the pain for what it is and let it run its course then you’ll move through it because it is the heart’s natural tendency to heal. There’s no such thing as a broken heart as far as the heart is concerned. The heart is built to love—sometimes in spite of itself. You can’t change your friend’s choice, but you can heal it through the actions you take in your own life. You met because you were looking to be in a relationship—and there’s no reason for you to stop looking now. If anything, this experience deepens your capacity to love while giving you a renewed appreciation for life. This is something that should resonate with you quite powerfully this summer when you meet someone new who’s been through a similar experience. Maybe you’ll just be friends and maybe you’ll become lovers, but the important thing is that you’ll feel alive again.