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There is something I must dwell on
because I know more than I know and must learn it from myself.

— Marilynne Robinson

My girlfriend Elaine has died and we shall never experience the future together that we both dreamed of, but the years I shared with her were soulful ones and full of love.

The threat of death and illness was with us from the beginning but it offered us a precious opportunity to go deeper together, glimpsing the delicate and fragile nature of what it means to be alive in this fleeting world. Finding a way to live and be in relationship with fear and suffering, but also allowing ourselves to be touched by all the love, joy and laughter we had for each other and life.
I am heartbroken by her death and as I slowly begin to try and rebuild a life without her, I feel very fortunate to have known Elaine for the brief time we shared together.

My life is far richer for having been touched by her. When I look into the trees and see the small birds quietly go about their work and the bees gathering pollen for their hive, I now see them with Elaine’s eyes and an unseen world of wonder and mystery is now revealed to me.

‘Love, is stronger than Cancer’
by Elaine Dunstan

It’s not looking good, he said
as the colours drained
as all the moisture in my mouth dried
as he stripped me of a future
with his clinical words
so safely expressed, professionally cleaned
and yet, still reeking of death.
Over and over, asking, do you understand
what I’m saying. As if he knew
that his words were circling
the thick air of the room
unable to land.

The room seemed suddenly too tight
A life yet unlived, burned
like acid in my throat, stifling any words I had
‘need time’, was all I could muster
Stumbling out, into the corridor
Into thinner air, his words finally Landed.
On my eyes. My ears. My lips.
Releasing sounds.
Over which there was no control.
It seems to me those sounds
were made, by someone other.
I don’t remember them now

I do remember the forearms, that caught me
as my knees buckled
The blessed hands, that stirred the endless tea
The kind heart, that made nourishing, grounding food
The choked voices in the phone, that said
you are precious to us.
The sweet embrace that whispered
I don’t want to lose you
The pain in my chest, as my heart opened
to all the love that rushed in.