Karma means action. Every action has an effect. Actions most often are given birth from our thoughts. Our thoughts in turn are affected by our actions. An action I make has consequences. We are also all linked, every creature, plant, the air we breathe, the rain; we inter-are. With that in mind, I wish to share the following:
Today Bruce and I will be celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary. On that special day in 2014, after living together for twenty-two years, we were joined in marriage. If we had been living together for that long, why get married? The answer was simple really. Our moms, still living, were very old, my mom 92, Bruce’s 87. Married or not, we were lifers, but we knew it would mean the world to our moms for us to do this, so we did. For my part, I was cognizant of the fact that if my mom died, and then later we decided to get married, I’d always regret not having married while she was around to appreciate and enjoy it.
On July 18, 2014, Bruce and I married. Below is the speech, more or less, that I gave at my wedding three years ago.
“Over the last few weeks, ever since Bruce and I decided to get married, many thoughts about the two of us, and about my life, have passed through my mind. One thought has reappeared again and again. It takes many different forms: I often sit out on our veranda under the century old oak trees and look up at the incredible tapestry that are their branches, crisscrossing each other as they reach for the sky. I breath in their beauty and their majesty and I am grateful for them. I see my husband as he sits on the rocking chair with our kitty Amber on his lap, lavishing attention upon her, and my heart fills with warmth for this gentle man with whom it is my privilege to share my life. I am meditating and thoughts of my daughter and my son float through my mind; I think of how proud I am of them. I bear witness to all of these thoughts as they drift in and out of my mind. All of this beauty and love and largess that is my life is just that. My life. A gift. More and more as I live out my days, I find myself just stopping, bringing my awareness to my breathing, closing my eyes, and quietly whispering thank you…thank you for my family, my ancestors who continue to live on through me, my friends, the wonder of a blue heron as it sits on a branch by the river preening itself, the water that comes out of my taps, and this country that I call home, and where I feel safe.
I love this roller coaster ride called life. And it really is a roller coaster. I love that I never know what to expect. I was talking on the phone with my son Michael yesterday, and I mentioned to him that I was going to share with you all the story of how Bruce and I met. I told him that I thought it was ironic that I had to have spent part of my life with my ex-husband Bob, who is his father, to have ended up meeting Bruce. Weird, but kind of neat really. It is funny how life works out sometimes. I also said to him that I was grateful for not only him and his sister Jenifer, but for that part of my life. It helped to make me what I am today, and I like what I am today. Okay, so how did Bruce and I meet?
Bob and I separated in the mid 1980’s. Not too long after Bob and I split up, I got a phone call from his sister Meg, saying that she had now completed university at NASCAD in Halifax and was in Toronto briefly before she headed off to London, Ontario to live with her mom. She and I were very good friends; she asked me if I wanted to go out for coffee before she continued on to London. Of course an immediate yes followed. She came over to my house for a bit and then we headed off to a favourite haunt, Dooney’s Cafe on Bloor Street. We had only walked a few paces from my porch when I asked her if she wanted to live in London. She replied that, no, actually she didn’t. She had a boyfriend she’d met at NASCAD who wanted to move in with her in Toronto, but she didn’t feel that she was quite ready to take that step yet and so off to her mom’s she was going. I took about 10 seconds to think about it, then asked her if she wanted to move in with me, Jenifer, and Michael. I said that we could maybe give it a try, and if it didn’t work out, no harm done, and she could continue on to her mom’s. She immediately said yes. Well, we lived together for six months and all four of us got along just great. Actually, it was wonderful. We didn’t have even one disagreement about anything. It’s a period in my life that I treasure. At the six month point, she decided that she was ready to move in with her boyfriend, now her husband and father to her two sons.
Not too long after she left, I received a phone call from a man, Bruce, saying that he was a friend of Meg’s and that he had met and worked with her at McKittrick’s Cameras in London where he lived. He had been told that she was living with me and could he please speak with her. I told him that yes, she had been living with me, but had recently moved out. I said that I’d be happy to take down his name and phone number to pass along to her. Then somehow we two complete strangers got into this incredible conversation about a thesis that he had written for his Master’s when he was at Western University, and that I had written for a fourth year essay course at the University of Toronto. His thesis was on the human need for meaning and mine was on the human need for meaning within the context of war. We two strangers talked animatedly for about 40 minutes. When he got off of the phone I was stunned. I was in awe with what had just transpired. Of course I called Meg up, told her all about it, and asked who was this guy? It turns out that he and she had really hit it off and become close friends before she had left for NASCAD.
Months passed; Bob and I sold our house where I was living after the break up, and I moved from Toronto to London with Michael. Jenifer, having completed secondary school, was no longer living with us as she had recently left to work in Banff for awhile before she would eventually head off to Carleton University in Ottawa when she was 18 year’s old. Michael was 12 years old at the time. Anyway, the next thing I knew Bruce and I both showed up at Meg’s wedding. He was pointed out to me by Meg, so I went over to him just to introduce myself to him and say hi. He was with a woman so I didn’t linger. I bumped into him again right after the wedding at a train crossing, exchanged a few pleasantries with him and his friend, and we went our separate ways.
Two weeks later he was on a bus, saw me, got off of the bus, and came over to say hi. We ended up chatting on a street corner for about half an hour when I suggested that we go for coffee to chat. We went to a nearby cafe, and chatted for a long time. Well, things moved pretty fast with the two of us. Meg was married on September 7th, 1991, and by the following August Bruce and I had moved in together.
It is kind of mind boggling all the things that had to have happened for us to have ended up together. I had to have been married to Bob to have met his sister Meg; Meg and I had to have become close friends; she had to have stopped in Toronto after university and phoned me up to meet for coffee; I had to have asked her to live with me; she had to have met and become good friends with Bruce; he had to have had to try and track her down; Bruce and I both had to have had the same thesis for that incredible conversation that was integral for me wanting to know “Who was that guy?” to have occurred, we both had to have ended up at Meg’s wedding; he had to have seen me walking down the street that day and gotten off the bus to chat, and so on and so on….
Bruce and I have been together now for 20 years and we are so meant to be. We both really hit the jackpot when we ended up together.”
I have always loved all of the things that had to be for us to have ended up together. I think that I am still kind of in awe of it all.
I told you that the reason that I wanted to get married when I did was because of our aged moms. And my mum? Well, she talked, or to be more accurate, effervesced about our wedding to me for months and months after the event. She kept telling me all sorts of things: How beautiful she thought I looked; she had loved my outfit, how beautiful the tablecloths were; hadn’t my sister Mary done a great job designing and making them, how beautiful the flowers were, and oh, how beautiful she thought I had looked. Yes I said that one already, but she kept saying it again and again and again. I’m not kidding. For months. She would just beam every time she said it.
Well, I am so glad that we did get married when we did. My Mum now has dementia. Jean, Bruce’s mom, died on July 18, 2017. Mum I love you. Jean, may you rest in peace.