When one of my closest friends transitioned out of this life several years ago the experience became one of the most important soul lessons of my life.
The hospital room was overflowing with women, each with a significant and sacred place in my friend’s story. There was a lifetime of heart connections present, witnessing and holding the space for her exit.
As the sun was setting on the day, a man entered the room. There was a collective pulling of breath because everyone present understood the significance of this moment.
He was “the” man—the one who had resided prominently within my friend’s heart—for too many years to count, for as long as I had known her. He was the one that she had ached for, had mindlessly reached for, had known that their souls were meant to be on this planet together, evolving and expanding and becoming.
They were soul mates…but he could never show up for any of that.
He tried in his ways, but he simply could not or would not step in to the work that a soul mate connection offers to two Beings.
He didn’t want to step completely out though. He was never ready—to be completely in or completely out. He wanted her to be there, heart-connected and available, as an option for the future.
And this possibility she offered to him.
As he entered the hospital room he was moving at a fast pace, the momentum it took to propel him into this moment. My heart ached as he hit the brick wall of reality taking in the scene. The sight of her literally hurled his body backwards several steps, and stopped him cold.
But then he knew what to do. With laser precision he walked over to her bedside and placed the tips of his fingers ever so gently upon her forehead.
He stood; eyes closed with her, for several moments. Then he turned away walking over to the window to look out at the gorgeous setting sun. Everyone in the room turned their gaze to follow him, and as we were admiring the beautiful sunset she took her last breath.
The women began to cry and mourn and gather around her, but the man stood as still as a stone. He didn’t shed a tear, he was just there…observing.
He had accomplished what he came there to accomplish, which was to show up for her. The women started to comfort him, saying, “She waited for you. Thank you for coming. It means so much”
He didn’t respond to these acknowledgements of his place of importance in her life, he just stood silently watching the ceremonial farewell now underway. The women bathed my friend in lavender and sang songs rejoicing her. Someone handed him a towel, to help dry her body off. He held the towel but did not move from his place.
It all felt so representative of their experience together, I could see how locked down he was and it broke my heart. A wave of compassion flooded over me and a deep sorrow for the beautiful soul work left undone, unchosen. I could see on his face that he knew. He told himself for all these years that she would always be there, for the day he became ready—and now she was gone.
He knew they were soul mates, he referred to her as such; the connection was undeniable. Anyone who had ever spent time with the two of them together could feel the truth of this, regardless of circumstances and storylines.
When I left late that evening I immediately dialed the number of my own soul mate. We had spoken in the morning and he knew my friend was in her last moments of life. He knew I was calling to tell him that she was gone. He knew I needed his comfort. But he didn’t take the call.
He said no to me. Again. Still.
At first I was surprised, but then I realized it was the night he always spent at his lover’s place, so he was likely in bed with her and could not, would not, be able to interrupt that with this.
I sat in my car weeping uncontrollably for a long time—for the loss of my beautiful friend, for the shocked pain and regret I saw on the face of her soul mate knowing the door of opportunity had now closed for this lifetime, and for my own disappointed heart with its similar story.
I don’t take my soul mate’s no personally. It is not some defective aspect of me that he has turned away from. I know this. I accept his right to choose the work his soul shows up for in this life and his own pace of readiness.
But there is an unresolvable heartache, a disappointment that does not become diluted with time or distance. My own work with this man has become navigating these emotions with an ever open and compassionate heart.
I remind myself that this whole lifetime is but a cosmic blip on the map and there is so much more we cannot see from this physical body’s vantage point.
The end is never the end.
I believe that my friend was wise in not trying to push this man out of her heart. She did not sever the connection and banish him from her life as punishment for his no. She went on with her own life, but I think a small piece of her was always awaiting his arrival.
Maybe next time…after all, anything is possible.
Author: Renee Jahnke
Editor: Renée Picard