“Do you know the place between sleep and awake? Where you remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That where I’ll be waiting.”
This is Tinkerbell’s promise to Peter Pan when he decides to finally return to the “real” life he must live, with his wife, children and extended family. Tinkerbell’s promise also reminds me of so many clients who were enduring a separation from a loved one, and came to therapy to find safety, solace and help with re-building their lives. At such times – waiting, without knowing when we will again see and touch the one we love, we can feel as though an endlessly cold wind is blowing through our hearts, and that no amount of warmth from others can take away the chill. I have seen it time and time again as a clients sits with me and talks about the one who is missing. Perhaps they are separated by circumstances (they are not free to be together, or cross-cultural issues present difficulties) , by distance (such as in military deployment or justice system incarceration), by chronic illness (requiring one partner’s placement in a long-term care in a facility), or by death. In each case my clients have been burdened with deep sadness, grief and uncertainty as to when, or if, these would ever end. Or with knowing already that the loss is permanent and irrevocable.
What Tinkerbell’s parting tenderness teaches us is that we do not have to give up on loving someone even though we cannot have them in our lives. To love is a personal choice and an intentional behavior that can exist on its own within us and in the things we do, and don’t do, each day. In the way we smile at the sound of a song or grow quiet when we taste the scent of memory.
Be at peace with your loving.
Do it fiercely and exuberantly when you can, or softly yet joyously when it must be done quietly.