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  • Cynthia Coupe

Ground Zero

Updated: Jan 7, 2023

I was driving home the other day and this song came on the radio “All of Me“ by John Legend. I started bawling. I don’t know if I hadn’t heard that song since Frank died or what, but I was acutley reminded of the way Frank loved me, so completely and thoroughly. All of him loved all of me. I was a sobbing mess. I still have people that love all of me and I love all of them, but it is not the same. The love one person gives you is unique to that person. My person died. I won’t have it in that way, ever again.


I remember feeling this loss when my dad died too, I remember crying and thinking I’ll never see the twinkle in his eye again, I’ll never have him put his arms out and joyously call “Symphony!” (one of his many nicknames for me) when he sees me. I miss that still, but after nearly 20 years it’s begun to take on a different shape. My dad loved me so much he had 100 nicknames for me it seemed…mouse, tinti, tinti-mouse, symphony, Sandra Bernhardt, banana legs…I loved them all.


So…love. And loss. And if we love we will have loss, its inevitable. It’s part of the journey, part of the letting go and trusting and believing it will never happen, couldn’t possibly happen, but also knowing that it will and when it does may we have the grace and the presence and the love to accept it, to face it and to transform as a result of it.


It’s been a year.


I could replay all the lasts…they are all happening right now, aren’t they? The last phone call, the last I love you, the last embrace, the last goodnight, the last good morning…and then he was gone.


I could replay all the firsts…the first time I went to sleep without him alive, the first phone calls I had to make, the first time I said the word “widow” in reference to myself..the first days of the rest of my life without him.


I go to these places sometimes, of course, but for the most part, I focus on developing a different relationship with grief. Gratitude for the journey, gratitude for the love I had, gratitude for my resilience and support team.


My sister-in-law just turned me on to this podcast, which I haven’t listened to yet, though I did read the interview and it's fantastic…it’s with Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper, two men who had profound grief at an early age and have learned to thrive beyond it.


A quote by Cooper on the podcast says “Can we learn to love the things we most wish had never happened? Can we really become grateful for grief? Heartbreak? The deaths of loved ones?”


He believes the answer is yes, as do I. I am learning to love the things I wish most had never happened. I am grateful for grief, and heartbreak.


I would not have chosen it, not ever. Not even for a second, but here it is and I will embrace it. It is my life after all, isn’t it? I want that to be a good life, a life where even if and when bad things happen, it can still be good.


Good…bad…those are just judgments and labels placed onto an action or an event. Frank died. Was that bad? Was that good? It was both. It was intense heartbreak for many people, but it was a releasing for Frank. Frank died. That was the event, and my relationship to that event is what will determine if my life continues to be good or bad or otherwise…I have a good life. I look for the good in my life.


I had someone say to me recently “you've had such a hard life, I just want someone to take care of you.” That statement hit me deeply, and brought me sadness and a different tenor of grief for many days. Slowly, I pulled out of it...made sense of it…I want that too, but what does that mean? For the person who said it, perhaps their desire in life is to be taken care of, and perhaps they do not see that in my life. People have departed, yet I have remained, does that mean I have not been taken care of? I have people who take care of me in the ways they can, emotionally, spiritually, physically…and isn’t that good? It is good, and I am grateful. I understand the statement, I really do…but that has not been what I sought in life, don’t know if I’d recognize or accept it if it landed in my lap and so…perhaps that is not my life desire. I take care of me too, and I am grateful for that. Many people never figure that one out, but I have…and I am…and it is everything I need.


I was in my meditation group this morning, one I do every Friday I can. It’s a group I’ve been Zooming with for the past couple of years. Frank and I used to do it together, and I’ve continued. Being the beginning of the year and all we talked about resolutions for the year…I can’t say I really have any.


I can say, in this past year I resolved to find joy and follow it. To go for the gold no matter what and to also go with the flow no matter what. There is something out there that is more powerful and all-knowing than I am (no really, there is…hard to believe I’m not the end-all/be-all, but that’s the truth) and I can only rest in the awareness that when I follow my joy and go with the flow I am met with the right path. It may require some work, and some tough decisions, but if and when I can separate the difference between tough decisions that lead to joy, and tough decisions that lead to discontent, then I’ve done my work.


So, in this next year I resolve to continue to learn myself. To follow my guides, to know the difference between what to work for and what to allow…to find joy in the every day and to know that what is for me will not pass me by.


I resolve to support others who are on this path. To be a beacon of light for those who need it, and to show my daughter a life well lived and well-loved.


Here's a picture of Lena and I...caught in a rainstorm, but finding the joy because...that's life. Let's dance.



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