I really should not be left to my thoughts…or Orlando Bloom on a day off. Or maybe I should, because it produced a productive 16 pages in 3 hours for the book I’ve been working on since I got back from Morocco.
I had been a little perplexed over the last few months trying to decide how to start the story…to understand what the premise was really all about…as in…why in the hell I went to Morocco to begin with.
I could go on and on about how God told me to go there and whatever answer I was looking for I would find there. But then that would mean that I was already on a quest. I was already on a journey searching for the end of this story. The question really was…what story was this that I was writing? What was truly the beginning of this tale that led me to Morocco? What was I searching for?
Insert the movie “Elizabethtown” starring Orlando Bloom. Sure, I’ve seen Bloom in plenty of films before. But there was something about this movie that made me sit up and see him differently. It was like he was helping me to remember something I had chosen to forget, because the memories (no matter how good) caused a lot of pain.
I started to remember the smell of the caramel apples, popcorn and cotton candy in the air as the ferris wheel turned. I remembered the sounds of the festival all around me. I remembered him.
I remembered falling in love with a carnival in tow. I remembered talking for hours upon hours on the phone. I remembered what it felt like to fall in love for the first time. I remembered the innocence, the smell of his skin, the softness in each touch. I remembered how his heart beat under the palm of my hand.
That was a time when I could literally say that his heart beat in the palm of my hand. This was our fairy tale moment, a time when everything was perfect. It was a time where you could bottle up that moment and put it in a snowglobe, going back to revisit that memory and how beautiful it all was, over and over again. It was the fervor of first love.
If we knew what lie ahead…I would have stayed in that moment forever. After all, what was about to happen would push me into a realm that sometimes bordered on insanity and losing it all. [Trust me, there’s a book I started on this exact topic.]
In 1994, that memory of that boy was abruptly hidden away. He had put a bullet into that heart that I once felt beating in the palm of my hand. With that, he didn’t just take his life, but he also took part of my soul with him.
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to describe that pain of feeling a part of your soul rip from inside you. It was the most excrutiating pain I have ever felt, even if it lasted only a second.
I didn’t just lose him that night…I lost a part of myself.
That’s what the journey has been about all of these years…putting myself back together again. And yes, it took almost 15 years before he restored what he had taken from me. But even after feeling your soul at 100%, you are still left to heal and to learn to love again.
Watching Orlando in his role in Elizabethtown had me doing double takes all throughout the film. It was like I was seeing Kevin again and remembering the way we were. I was remembering why he was so special to me…he was my first soulmate.
Our souls spent those first years intertwining with each other. Imagine how great that loss was to me. I didn’t just lose Kevin, he had stolen a part of me when he left. I spent years feeling half empty. It took me seven years before I could ask why he killed himself. Still, to this day, I wish I hadn’t known that his decision was partly based on my decision to leave for Washington, DC to start my life without him. Then again, I wish he had told me that my decision…compounded with what he was left to face…would ultimately result in losing him forever.
I would have stayed in Indiana and deferred a year to Washington, just to wait for him so we could do this together. BUT as fate designed it, I would never be afforded that opportunity. Instead, I would walk this earth for the rest of my life without him.
Dreams changed after his death. Plans changed. Life, for me, completely changed. I had to put myself back together again and it took a very long time for that to happen.
After I finished watching “Elizabethtown,” I was filled with fresh memories of the way things used to be. It finally gave me incentive to write the beginning of the story the way it was supposed to be written. We’re starting from the very beginning.
My friend called me while I was warming up my coffee, getting ready to write the beginning of this story. I had this feeling that she sensed something was stirring within me when I looked down at my phone to see that she was calling. I didn’t tell her what was running through my mind. I just told her that I was getting ready to sit down and write.
I went into my office and cleared off my desk. I thought…I need that card from his funeral…the one with his name on it…talking about purgatory. Two seconds later, I found it in a huge stack of papers. I knew this was right…this was how the story had to start. The universe was saying…this is where you start.
And then I found this quote written down on a sheet of paper:
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”– Jesus, from the Gnostic Book of Thomas
I thought long and hard about that quote. This was my time to save myself. I had to talk about Kevin.
I had only started to talk about Kevin right before I left for Morocco. For the first time since his death, my brother and I sat down to talk about Kevin back in September.
We talked about the demise of what happened in the family, especially where I was concerned. He talked about how sick he was of hearing the family speak so ill about me, and it was obvious that they had never spoken to me about the things they claimed they were experts on.
They criticized me for not showing up at my grandfather’s 90th birthday party, not knowing that I spent his birthday talking to him on the phone for hours. It was his wish that I not come to this party, because it was THEIR party, not his party. He didn’t want me to know or to hear what they had to say about me. He had been sitting at enough dinners to know that they spoke so ill about me, he didn’t want me to be hurt.
He asked me to come home when it meant something. He told me then that he was going to die in three weeks. He wanted me home then, not before for THEIR party. I was honoring his wishes. I just didn’t know what was going on until I arrived and was subsequently told that I was kicked out of the family as my grandfather lay dying in a hospital bed.
My grandfather knew this was going to happen. That’s why he structured his Will the way that he did. He disowned them all…except for me and my brother. It was his way of letting me and my brother know that we were not alone. We belonged to him, just as much as we belonged to each other.
My brother didn’t understand what was happening to me over these years. My grandfather picked up that something in me had changed…and it was because of that boy that died. He knew it was.
When he tried to get me to talk about it…to say that it was because of Kevin, I couldn’t talk about it. I couldn’t tell him why I decided to not puruse a career in acting or singing…why I’m not super famous like he knew I would be. I couldn’t tell him because I couldn’t even admit it to myself. I wasn’t ready to talk about Kevin.
I spoke to my brother about all of this…and then he said to me that thinking back on everything that had happened over the last 17 years…Kevin explained everything. He said that he had been watching me his entire life and couldn’t understand why so much of this stuff was happening…why I never married or had children…why I didn’t date…why I just wasn’t interested… But to talk about Kevin and how I’ve been in love with someone that I can’t even see, touch, talk to, or try to make things work? It explained everything to him.
It was talking about Kevin right before I headed to Morocco that opened a new doorway to healing. He was that skeleton in my closet that I kept locked up and guarded. He was what I hid behind that castle wall I had built up and fortified where no one could enter.
He was the person I couldn’t let go of.
Through meditation, I was able to talk to Kevin one last time. It was a moment that I will not forget, because he handed back to me what he had stolen from me. He gave me back that part of my soul that had ripped from me that same moment his heart stopped beating. When he handed it back to me, he said, “Learn to love again.”
Easier said than done, right?
Since then, I’ve come to realize that we were letting each other go in that meditation. Since that moment, I haven’t felt his presence around me. I don’t feel him anymore, even when I miss him. He’s not around anymore. I feel like he was either reborn or found the doorway out of purgatory and into heaven…I don’t know. I just know he’s not here anymore.
My soul became whole again…100%, but it still needed to be healed. There’s a lot of him still left in that other half that was restored. It took the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert to heal what had been broken inside of me.
That’s what the journey to Morocco has been about…learning to love again.
I’m reminded of the famous bestseller, “Eat, Pray, Love.” It’s a story of a woman’s journey in Italy, India and Bali…trying to put together what was missing in her life. She was trying to find herself.
This journey I’ve been on has spanned 20 years of my lifetime. It all centers around one central character. His name is Kevin.
This tale I’m writing will immortalize him. It’s the least I can do for someone who has been my heart, soul and universe for almost my entire life. It’s a tale of how when you lose everything, even a part of your soul, you can become whole again. You can find the way back to yourself again.
Morocco really was the end to that story. Now, I just have to finish writing it.
The funny thing about this ending…as I look around my new office, one that I’ve spent all of these months redecorating since I returned from Morocco, I can’t help but feel like I am a little flower just shooting up from the cracks of the pavement, preparing to bloom for the first time this season.
I feel the dawn of a new age in my life beginning…and it makes me smile that good things are awaiting me on this new adventure. This is the part of the adventure where my grandfather’s dream for me starts to come true…it all begins by letting go.[Photo above is a still from the movie “Elizabethtown.” It reminded me of how Kevin and I shared the world like this together.]