- Cynthia Coupe
Updated: Aug 7, 2022
I mean that, I really do. I feel incredibly lucky, incredibly blessed to be living this life, to be where I am and to be doing the work I do. I say that a mere 7 months after my husband died; since I lost the love of my life.
I just returned from a visit to my mom, where we had a little "staycation" in the town she lives. We enjoyed a nice evening meal on an outdoor patio in the heat of summer...we talked about Frank, and our business...or rather, my business...the passion that fueled it and the iterations it took to get to where I am now. We both cried as we sat there, holding one another with tender affection, sharing the space that comes from a great loss.
We realized that, all along, Frank was setting me up to exist without him. In some weird and unknowable way, that's what was happening. He was the one who wanted us to go into business together, the one that thought I should have a good car, the one that made sure as hell I was going to love myself. He was the one that helped pay for my daughter's autism evaluation, cheered me on when I said I wanted to do a TEDx talk, and introduced me to a deeper spiritual side.
I've said before that Frank and I spent hours and days talking about our business...it was our passion, the baby we birthed together. Before that, we were nothing if not the desire we had to make lasting change for the populations we worked with. Together we were on fire...fueled by purpose, determined to change lives, shift paradigms, and obliterate the status quo for people with different abilities.
The night before Frank died, we interviewed a business coach that I later hired. After the call, as we were going to bed, I remember saying to him. "I know this is going to sound weird, and please don't take it the wrong way, but hear me out... I have this feeling...this image, that I'm supposed to be on the front lines, and you're going to be in the background...you're every bit as important as me, and it's going to be a growth curve for each of us. I see you behind the scenes... just as necessary as me, but different. I'll have to be the frontman, and get comfortable with that role too." Frank thought about it for a moment and said "You're right. I totally agree, I see what you mean...we can do this."
And then...well, that's exactly what happened. Just not in the way I imagined. I imagined Frank partially retired, traveling around with me. As I did speaking engagements. he was working the crowd, meeting the locals and finding the best sushi spots.
And now… I find that I'm being set up for success even in his absence. My business, our business, is blossoming...all because he had a vision. I'm beginning to make headway by facilitating conversations that include Neurodiversity into the mix of Diversity and Inclusion and I've made an incredible connection with someone that speaks THE SAME language I do when it comes to Special Education Reform. And you know who is making this happen? Frank is. 100%, behind the scenes, pulling strings just like he was supposed to all along. And those strings...well, there are some uncanny opportunities that have come my way and I have full faith and belief they are ones that couldn't have happened in the same way if he was alive.
And you know what? Somehow, someway that makes it bearable. If you had told me "you can meet the love of your life, but he'll die 6 years after you get together". I'd be all in, no questions asked. But if you told me "You'll get to have the love of your life for 6 years, and then he'll die, and you will make a mark on the world...all your dreams of making a difference will come true," I wouldn't have taken it. I’d stay in the shadows and have Frank all to myself. I loved Frank. I adored him. I wanted all my time with him...I loved working with him because I figured that, well, we were older when we met. Maybe we'd have 25 years together if we were lucky, so if we doubled our time together we would come close to the time a younger couple got. I was happy with those odds.
But instead...instead, I'm here, set up for a win, making connections and learning to network with the best of them. I'm still no Frank, but I am Cynthia, and she's good too, just different.
So here I am...having completed an important milestone in my career, making connections that I never dreamed possible, and winning at widowhood. I love the people I've met in this community and I wouldn't have met them any other way.
The universe keeps unfolding with its blessings, and I keep opening to receive. I’m here, on this earth, living this story, because I have some big work to do. It’s bigger than me, bigger than I ever realized…Frank’s probably catching a glimpse of it now…I’m just the conduit, the physical form that carries out this mission and Frank is a part of that, even as he is no longer here in physical form. As hafiz said “I am but a hole in the flute…”
Frank had such faith in me, believed I could do anything…little did we know he was the fuel for that possibility.
Let me tell you a story: since I was young I've looked for 4 leaf clovers, consistently scanning the forest floor. Generally, this is a daily practice. Whenever I notice I'm standing in a patch of them, I take a look. I haven't found a single one since I was 7, but I keep searching. Frank learned this about me only recently, during a family hike on Christmas. He saw me scanning and I told him the story. He found it endearing.
A couple of weeks after he died I went out into the forest, a trail I don't usually take. I asked for a sign from him, and I looked at the ground. Right there was the biggest 4 leaf clover I'd ever seen. I swooped it up and hollered for joy. Frank was there.
And then, just last week, I took my dogs for a nice long run. I was having a moment, thinking about something specific I wanted. I pleaded to the universe that if this thing was going to happen, please throw a 4-leaf clover at my feet. I laughed and said out loud "I know that's a lot to ask, but if this thing is going to happen..." And you know what? I looked down at my feet and had a feeling to turn around. There it was...a proud 4-leafer shining in the sun, like it had been waiting for me all along.
I swopped it up and hollered for joy.
And you know what? That's the kind of thing that keeps me on track, the kind of thing that keeps me knowing Frank and I continue to co-create, the kind of think that makes me know, even in the midst of my grief, all is right with the world.