During my time as a hotel/retreat owner I met amazing people. Thousands walked through our doors. I heard stories of all types: challenges, sorrows, joys, marriages, divorces, illnesses, births, careers changes, like altering experiences, love stories and those of loss. Truth be told, I do not miss the responsibility of the business. It was a 365/24/7 job. I felt stuck and at a loss as time went on. But, what I miss are the connections I made on a daily basis. I was able to witness love and life through each person who entered our place. I could write a book about the souls who chose to share their stories, only because I was available to sit and witness them.
Several years ago Mickey and Dell visited. They would always stay in room 5. I used to refer to him as Santa Claus…his long white beard and smiles always brought about a childhood nostalgia. Mickey and Dell started dating in the10th grade and were married at 19 years old. They had two daughters, one who died a few years ago. I remember their love and union as if it was a fantasy fairy tale. Dell loved our place. She loved the pond. She was an extraordinary creature of poise and grace. Her beautiful white hair and fair skin was something out of a story book. She was intelligent, funny, and one of the most compassionate souls I’ve ever encountered.
One day I received a call from their daughter, Shannon, that Dell had passed on. I didn’t realized she had cancer the last time they stayed with us. My heart sunk and I asked myself, “How will Mickey survive this? How does a love that strong and beautiful survive loss? What happens to the one left behind when they have been together 40 something years?” But, all I could say to Shannon was that I was so sorry for her loss. I asked about her dad. Out of respect I held my questions. I could only imagine the inexplicable pain of losing your soul mate. I cried for a long while that afternoon. I didn’t get to say goodbye to one of my favorite guests.
Mickey continued to come every so often in Dell’s honor. She loved the place and he would stay one night here and there. He would come with his daughter and her family. But it wasn’t until one of the last weekends at our place that I got to know the real Mickey along with some of my friends. I had not realized the sense of loss he experienced until one-on-one he opened up about the love of his life. His sharing with us allowed the healing to begin. And, what I saw was deeper than his words. He’s a very reserved being. What I witnessed was the truth of grace and faith at the hands of separation.
See, that’s the thing about love: it doesn’t have to be gone to continue enduring its depth. He still feels married to his beautiful Dell. She was wise. She was angelic and now she’s his true guardian angel until the moment he joins her in that other realm.
Mickey has had losses. Shannon has had losses. Losing a daughter and then a wife within a short expand of years is inconceivable to me. It’s not something I ever want to experience. But, when you visit with my own Santa Claus you realize that we continue showing up and choosing our happiness. We are filled with other things during the day and at night we are touched by our loved ones in dreams.
Mickey still puts his darling wife and daughter to bed with his prayers. He still shares the day’s moments and tribulations. He still continues to walk among us, even when you see that there is someone always around him shining a bright light. I am also certain that there are dark moments of the soul that make him question the purpose for his walk here on earth. He is after all very human.
Love never dies. It evolves and continues to impact us in so many levels. Healing from any loss has no expiration date,or time of limitation. It’s all about honoring one moment at a time. When I think of his stories and the love that I witnessed when they would visit our center, I hold my heart tightly. I know love. I have been its student since very young. I know the way it moves, radiates, and transcends. I have witnessed love and lovers beyond time and space. Thank you, Mickey, for showing me once more what to aspire to be in this life. You are now, and forever will be, my Santa Claus bringing me joy through your texts every single day. I love YOU!