From the beginning of our relationship Cyril was hungry to learn about the depth of what this human experience had to offer, transcending the working every day, the material and the physical. He was eager to know and experience everything he could about deep connections with each being and what spirituality was for me, for him and for us. Early on in our relationship Cyril asked us to pray aloud together before each meal. I was excited that he wanted to explore and express spirituality together. When we prayed it was spontaneous, unscripted. He offered heartful gratitude for his day and life and humbly requested healing for someone or several someones. He always prayed for his family’s well being and their continued growth and happiness. I offered gratitude for the processes, seen and unseen, that allowed us to be eating the food before us. Gratitude and blessings for the animals, people, machines, earth, air, fire and water all turning in the mysterious cycle of living and dying so that we could be sustained. I asked that the blessed food nourish our bodies and soul so we could continue to bring to the world all our love, beauty, compassion, forgiveness and wisdom. We always found ourselves nodding together with each blessing, each request, and each expression of thanks. It felt like we were speaking our prayers in unison, even if only one voice was audible.
When Cyril arrived that evening his energy was bright and glowing. His whole face smiled with delight. He was positive, loving, funny, ready to give and receive, to be the pourer and the pouree. This was how I experienced Cyril 99% of the time, even after his diagnosis. He served us some wine and sat in blissful happiness watching me finish cooking, talking about his day, and listening to mine. I served our plates and we reached across the table grabbing hands to pray. The usual words failed me in that moment. I looked at him with tears in my eyes, nodded my head and said softly, “Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude!” He smiled knowingly with tears in his eyes, squeezed my hands then came and knelt next to me. We hugged tightly, crying and laughing for a long time. We both knew so many more words were inaccessible nor were they needed in that moment except for “Gratitude!”
We were grateful for everything we had experienced that allowed us to be sitting together that day, gratitude for everything that was to come in our life together, joyful and painful, and grateful for everything we could not even imagine was possible that we would learn and grow – together.
This deep gratitude for everything and everyone in our life and for Life in all its mystery, opportunity, beauty and pain never left us and was something we cultivated every day with each other and with everyone we could. Cyril's words before he went to sleep for the last time were, "I am so grateful for everything I received.
Now, when the hole in my heart is a great chasm with no view of the bottom or the other side, I am still grateful for so much. Tears of pain and deep longing are mixed with tears of joy and gratefulness for the exquisite love and rich experiences Cyril and I shared, and for all that we learned (and are still learning). I am thankful for the peaceful way Cyril passed from this side to the other, and that I was by his side until his last breath here. I am so thankful for his clear and comforting presence in my life now. I am so, so thankful for all the support and love around me and around him now. And I will continue to be eternally grateful for the opportunities to learn and grow and love and feel and give and receive and pour and be poured into – again and again.