This is my first Beltane without him.
When I talked to my mother about being a widow (dad died in 2005 at the age of 83) she said the firsts of anything were the hardest. The first birthday, the first Yule, the first New Year’s Eve, our wedding anniversary, that first, awful Samhain, yeah, they were hard. But this is my first Beltane as a widow.
I’ve been single on Beltane before. Then, Beltane was joyful and free and full of possibilities. Then, I was younger. And thinner and not so grey. And there was Isaac, somewhere on the edges of possibility (Isaac was a “could it be possible?” for me from almost the time I understood Beltane.)
Now, I am acutely aware of being single, very single. I am a polyamorous woman later in life with no one in my life. I have friends, and old friends, and even old lovers, but no one as a part of my life right now. And that’s ok, most of the time. But this is Beltane, and I am for once acutely aware of it.
Over the last almost-nine months since he died (I had to count to be sure; perhaps it’s a good sign that I no longer automatically know how many months it’s been) I’ve talked with a lot of widows and widowers. It’s a club, I call it, the Widow(er)s Club. It’s like having been in a war zone; someone else can understand widowhood intellectually, but only someone who’s been there really gets it like you do. It’s a club of which I hope, dear reader, you never find yourself a member.
But I learn stuff from other members of the widow’s club. I learn I can keep going. I learn my partner has died, but I have not. I dream of an invitation to Yoko Ono’s birthday party, and I wake to remember that she has kept going for more than thirty years (thirty years!) since she lost the great love of her live. I can make it through Beltane. Yesterday, I finished reading Patti Smith’s memoir of Robert Mapplethorpe, Just Kids. She lost her first great love, and her second, Fred “Sonic” Smith. But she keeps going. I can make it through this Beltane. I made it through Samhain, I made it through New Year’s, I made it through Valentine’s Day, I can make it through Beltane. It’s hard, but I can make it.
Beltane is the start of summer in my half of the planet, and may it be a full, rich, fecund summer. May babies be strong and crops be abundant and happy couplings begin and ripen. May maypoles be wrapped with joyous wishes and may the dancers find what they desire. May what needs to begin, begin and grow stronger. May what needs to end, slip away with dignity. May the bonfires be bright, and life go on with all its vigor.
The Gods took his life, but left me mine. May I have the strength to live it to the fullest.
Blessed Summer to you all.