A bowl of dried-up Cheerios on the counter, flakes of croissant, cups of half-drunk coffee. Today is almost nine months since Easter weekend, when he and I knew that part of us had died. We’d stood in the kitchen and faced each other, a song about heartbreak played in the speaker. Are we breaking up? Is this real?
A simple act: the heart points its arrow to another. It loves, you love back. But this arrow moves. We are at its mercy, even when most inconvenient. Like now…
Like with two beautiful kids, this house, a life we know like a punch-clock. Most inconvenient. The heart can spread its wings like an eagle, the girth of its wingspan is shocking. It envelops. It tells you there is more, and even carries you towards it.
It can be most inconvenient to follow your heart.
When he and I stood there, almost nine months ago, and faced our truth, it felt like a death in my body. I couldn’t move, couldn’t stop crying, all of my muscles ached and my sight went blurry. I could barely look at the kids, or at him. Nothing around me served as an escape. Easter weekend, when things die and are reborn.
I’ve walked this path since, becoming more of myself, honouring what needs to change in order to be me. Truth is a livewire, burns the ground in front of me, clears way for life.
Nine months later, after all the grief and time apart while still in this house together, after the realizations plant themselves into the soil of my body, it’s time to tell the kids. The final step. He and I are both afraid their hearts will break, afraid they’ll hurt how we did when we were kids, when both of our parents’ had split. We’re afraid they’ll feel splintered and abandoned. Afraid this moment will be a lightning bolt, a division of two worlds inside their hearts.
Let’s go up to the bed, I say to the kids. We need to tell you something. It’s important.
This bed, where both of them started, inside an alcove in the dark, where he and I joined together to make real the incredible dream of both of them.
I ask Cedar to smudge the room, and he does, with a wild turkey feather he found on our property in the County. Frankie skips through the room in pigtails, and it’s minus one million degrees outside. Frost huffs at the window, buffering a piercing sun.
The four of us sit on the bed. Who will speak first? I want it to be Brian but I wait and only feel his loss for words. So I speak.
People meet and fall in love and sometimes get married and have babies and sometimes those people become friends as time goes on and don’t kiss anymore or share a bed…
I keep speaking, not sure what I’m saying except feeling it come from my truest place. My tears are the heavy kind, the hot kind that roll down the cheeks, wash the face. The four of us on this bed that made us a family. Love is huge in the room, love in the walls and all around us. Love in the leaves of the fig tree, and in the light on the wall, love in the kids who are still and restless all at once.
My family is not broken. In fact, I would say it is mended because now we’re together in truth, bonded by love and choice, not obligation, comfort or fear. Now we are whole, standing in the truth of who we are and how we love.
We say things to them like:
We love you
We’re a family
Things will change a bit, but not much.
We’re still gonna do all the things we did, and even have more fun.
And we mean it.
The moment feels anti-climactic. Frankie gets up and skips through the room again, Cedar starts doing his somersaults on the bed, bashing into me. They don’t ask questions. They are five and eight and look at us like, what are you guys even talking about? They want to do headstands now and go for ice cream on this insanely cold day.
I want to keep explaining, make sure they understand. The words start to feel forced. “Do you guys know what we’re saying to you?”
But love is in the room, they can feel it, there isn’t anything to explain. No beat was skipped here. And then I get it: they already know. They know we’re okay. They feel it, have felt this every step of the way – a journey I thought was hidden from them was one we were all on together. They’re ready for this new chapter.
Truth is a beautiful sword, it cuts through doubt and fear and worry, and makes a clean space. My beautiful family, in its new form – with more love than ever, on this bed where nothing ends and only new things begin.