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  • Writer's pictureStephen Hart

Another Letter To Karina

Karina, 


It’s been two years since I’ve seen you. Two years. It feels like a lifetime ago. You left me. You left Raja, you left our marriage, our family, our future. Though it feels like an eternity has passed, I remember the last night together like it was yesterday. Every detail is seared into my brain. You had this almost angelic quality about you like you were already straddling the veil. You told me you heard music, trumpets. I told you I loved you. I told you I was proud of you. You smiled at me, one last time. If I only knew, I would have savored it a little longer. 


But then, it was over. That was the last time I would ever be able to look into your eyes, hold your hand, kiss you. Never again. Never ever. It crushed me to think about that, these last two years. That you’re never coming back. For a while, it felt like you were on vacation, and I waited to see your name pop up on my phone to tell me you were back. It never came. Now, it feels like it was all a dream. Did that all really happen?


We were a family, 7 years in the making. The good and the bad, we experienced it all together. At times, we both questioned whether we were right for each other. And I remember the moment I knew you were the one I wanted to marry. You asked, “When shit hits the fan, who do you want by your side?” It was always you. Despite our differences, you were my ride-or-die. 


We used to spend hours talking, discussing life, our work, our purpose. I would dream that our yoga studio would be successful, building a life for us to enjoy with our future family, in a community we loved. You would dream about raising the vibration of the world, you wanted to play big, reach millions. 


I asked you, not long after the doctors shared the dire prognosis, why you wanted to live. You said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t want to live for you, or my parents, or my friends. It is my dharma to spread the message of love. That is what I’m here to do, that is why I want to live.”


But time passes. A year. And now two. The second wasn’t any easier; it may have been harder, actually. The first was all sadness, anger, disbelief. The grief was palpable, sitting at the surface, ready to be grieved at any moment. It helped to see the grief as love energy that lost its destination and I had to reclaim it. That I could re-absorb our love and expand my heart in the process. Doing so was painful, excruciating at times, but worth it, I hope. 


The second year was more confusing, full of anxiety, frustration, and panic. I needed to escape a few times, and I did. I crawled into a little hole and didn’t come out for days, falling into old self-destructive patterns and feeling shame and guilt for having come so far but still hurting so much. 


With work, I was learning to be more compassionate with myself. To be okay with not being okay. Sometimes I felt on top of the world, and at other times, I felt like the world was on top of me. In the first year without you people were gentle with me, kind, patient. In the second, I felt alone. The world around me moved on, but I was still suffering, spiraling, just trying to keep it together. 


At times, I thought I was tricking myself, that all the the ideas around death not being an ending were just our way as humans to pretend that death isn’t a cold, dark nothing. Maybe these experiences were conjured as a defense mechanism against the harsh reality of nothingness, that in our desperation for meaning and some connection to our lost love, we latch on to anything and everything that validates our comfort. “Oh, look! A butterfly, you must be watching over me.” But there are more butterflies than humans in the world (maybe, don’t fact-check me), so that isn’t an improbable thing to see from time to time.  


To be honest, I’m still not sure what death is, or where exactly you are, but one thing is different. I feel you now. I really, really feel you. Not in a logical way, where I think of you and feel gratitude or comfort. I feel you inside of me. I feel you as a part of me. I feel like I am you. I feel like I absorbed you, or a part of you, when you died and now we are living our dharma together.


You’ve given my rational mind something to chew on, experiences that were not only synchronistic but came with this deep feeling of truth, a feeling I could not have understood until I felt it, a feeling I’ve tried to put into words in an attempt to explain it:  (The Perfect Wave, the yoga studio in London, the woman you brought into my life, to name a few).


Despite my moments of doubt and questioning over where you are, I truly feel we are closer now than ever. You never left me. You are closer than ever. Sometimes, in my weaker moments, it is I who leave you. Sometimes I forget and get sucked into the muckiness of life. The work, the bills, the task list, the non-important potholes that trick me into thinking they are worth the stress.


In those moments, I’ve learned to sit and be still, to slow down and simplify. To, when I’m ready, dig deep into my self and find that pocket of grief that has hidden in the crevices. Little memories of little moments, hiding from my psyche, wounds that, when seen, explode with emotion. I feel it all. I burn again. I ugly cry like the day you died. Dripping, wet, sweaty. And then, peace. Like I finally got a shower after a long hike in the mud. Like I was drowning in a pool, only to realize the water was only knee-deep.


Over and over I do this, you would be proud. You used to always ask me how I felt; it was hard for me to answer. Now I have access, you’ve given me the key to feeling what I feel and it is unlocking so much beauty in my life. 


That’s how I know you’re with me. I didn’t get it before. But I do now, at least more than I did. In special moments, the highest highs and the lowest lows of life, we see the truth. And the rest of the time, we try to remember but often forget.


So, thank you. I appreciate everything you did for me in the 7 years we shared our love and the extraordinary things you’ve created in me in the 2 years since you transitioned. You continue to inspire, never to be forgotten because your impact was too big. You have changed so many people, and continue to do so. Your dharma is still unfolding. You never needed the credit, and you won’t get it. Most people have no idea how affected they’ve been by your love. But it has been many; I’ve seen it, and continue to project it outwards through my writing and my work. 


And now, the third year on this new ride of my life begins. It might not be easy, it rarely is, but I know it will be expansive because that’s the course you’ve inspired me to take. It can’t be any other way. I can’t wait to see what we can do. Onwards and Upwards, my darling.


 

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