Love and Innocence
© 1997 Michele Toomey, PhD
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Her pure sweet voice rang clearly through the air, sending warm shivers through my soul. Without warning it called forth tears that ran down my cheeks, flowing into my cupped fingers and upturned hands. I moved toward her, wanting my tears to join her song, but as I began to walk in her direction she disappeared and only her song remained.

It wrapped itself around me, shutting out the world and lulling me to sleep. Whether what I saw next is real or only dreamt, doesn't really matter to me, it had such a strong effect. I saw her in a garden with innocence everywhere. She sat there with her parents exchanging loving smiles and at times laughing together in wondrous endearing glee. There was no fear or anger, just total trust and loving warmth coursing through the air. So powerful was the depth of its pure innocence that once again warm shivers went through my soul for what seemed an eternity.

Innocence radiated like sunlight with its golden rays shining on all three. There was no mistaking, they were not interacting, they were intertwined in a tightly woven tapestry, perfectly safe and truly happy as long as no one left.

One day their reverie was broken by a blood curdling scream. In a split second the peace was torn to shreds. Fragments flew like shrapnel, slicing as they passed, whipping up black dust and red hot ash. I strained to see if they were all right, but I couldn't find them in the smoke. Panicking, I scanned each inch of the garden, searching for their forms.

Finally, I recognized her mother and her dad lying motionless on the ground. Their clothes were torn and singed, and neither of them moved. She was nowhere to be seen. I sprang forward and tried to go to them and also find out where she had gone, but they weren't within my reach. When I moved to touch them they evaporated into thin air. With all the strength that I could muster, I ran round and round, turning here, turning there, but to no avail.

I never saw their faces. I saw only backs. They had no way to see me. Only I saw them. The pain of watching helplessly was more than I could bear, yet I refused to turn away. I would at least stand vigil as a witness to their plight. One of them would weep at times and one would sometimes stare, but no connection with each other was ever made. Their union had been shattered and now they suffered each alone.

My heart was aching as I watched and my urgency rose up. Perhaps shouting would gain their attention. Perhaps sound held the saving key. Immediately, I cried out and even bellowed, but without success. Perhaps if I could see their faces and look into their eyes. Perhaps our spirits then would touch, and our joined energies could ignite their inner fire.

As I cried out for them to look at me for what seemed an eternity, she re-appeared upon the scene and quietly moved toward them as they laid silently on the ground. She was humming oh, so softly, much like a lament. I felt both joy and pain. My heart fluttered in confusion and relief. With eagerness and pathos I called out:

"Thank God you're here and still alive,
I've been so worried and so scared
For all of you.
What happened? What went so awfully wrong?
They do not speak. They do not touch
They do not even move.
Ever since the loud explosion
They've acted almost dead.
It's terrible to see.
And I can't do anything.
I can't get close, I can't be heard.
I can't connect with them in any way.
They're waiting silently for you.
Yet even now they don't respond.
They have no energy at all.
What can be done? Are you all right?
Your presence is essential.
Thank God you are finally here."
She looked directly at me, directly in my eyes. The pain in hers was so acute it took my breath away. There were no tears, just deep raw pain, as if her heart were pierced. She didn't speak, she only looked, and then she moved toward them. First she held her mother's hands and brushed away her tears. Then she held her in her arms and they both cried as one. But as she held her mother, I saw her age before my eyes. Her hair turned gray. Her face grew lined with creases everywhere. And still the two embraced.

Eventually she laid her mother down and kissed her on both cheeks. Their tears met on each other's face in resignation and despair. She went then to her father, motionless and stiff. His head was bald, his face was lined. She took his hands lovingly in hers, but there was no response. His face had no expression and his body was limp and stiff. She sobbed and rubbed his shoulders and clung to his still frame. In time she seemed to force herself to leave, reluctantly letting go of him and walking silently away.

I called out to her and begged her not to go, but she gave no indication she could even hear me, and as I watched in helplessness, she disappeared out of sight. The ache of total helplessness flooded over me again. Finally, I could no longer bear it. I too forced myself to turn away and walk back into my life.

To my dismay I found myself distracted in such a haunting way. I could only think of them and her. I could not escape the image of their lost reverie that had become such a tragedy. It gripped me night and day. In utter desperation I tried to call them forth by concentrating on them with all my energy. Without a sound I tried to tell them how sorry I was that they had been ripped apart and were suffering such acute loneliness and loss. I sent the message with my mind and heart with such intensity it somehow lifted me upwards and brought me to them, instead of them to me.

I was bewildered to find myself present in their world that I knew only in my dream. It was very hard to breathe there with all the dust and lack of air. I coughed and gasped for a brief while, until I settled down and could begin to look around. Everything looked just the same. Not one thing had changed. She wasn't there, but her parents were, still motionless and separate, silent and alone.

I approached her father first and tried to bring him around. But I soon realized it was too late. He was already dead. Sadly I drew a long, slow breath and then a quick short gasp. With a pained sigh I walked quietly away. There was nothing more to do. Nothing I could say. I then went to her mother and to my utter surprise, she was crouched beside her mother, rolled up in a ball, sobbing uncontrollably, clinging to her mother's waist. It was all too evident, her mother, too, had died. I knelt reverently down beside her and put my arm around her shoulder and kissed her on the cheek, crying as I did.

"I'm so very sorry," I whispered in her ear.
I am so very, very sorry for such a painful ending to what was such a loving start."
She looked directly at me and for the first time smiled wanly through her tears. She didn't speak in words but she spoke volumes with her eyes. She stood up carefully and beckoned me to come with her. I knew what we had to do. As we buried her mother and her father her voice rose up in song, so beautiful all desolation seemed to disappear. In wonder I watched her pure sweet voice envelop them as if it were a shroud. They were being laid to rest within her satin voice, united once again by song. Her singing never stopped, it just kept on and on. Intermingled with her tears, each note more beautiful than the one before.

Lovingly she wrapped her song around them and sprinkled them with her tears. It was her farewell ritual and her farewell prayer. She and they were bound together in a final, last embrace. It was a moment to behold and a memory to treasure and emblazon on your soul. With that I seemed to wake up and re-enter my world again. Startled to find myself at home, I tried to turn toward my world, but it held no interest for me now and I had no desire to try to get on with my own life. Her face, her eyes, her innocence, her pure sweet voice and song woven in this tragedy haunted me night and day. I could not ignore her impact on me and the love I felt we shared. There was only one thing for me to do. I knew I must search for her in every way I could.

Within my mind I searched and searched through time and then through space, and in my heart I hoped and prayed that she was looking for me as well. Just as my heart became too heavy to continue and my feet refused to move, I heard her voice once more, singing her aching pain. I turned and saw her coming toward me, bent and labored in her walk, propelled only by her song.

When our eyes met her voice soared, and my heart sang with sorrow and relief. Our hearts had touched in tragedy, and our souls had touched in grief. Now we had the luxury of touching here in joy. We embraced with such intensity it took my breath away. We laughed, we cried, but never spoke until she spoke in song. This time I could hear the words:

"I loved my parents with all my heart
And they dearly loved me, too.
But when I tried to leave them
And have a life on my own
Our innocent loving tapestry
Could not take the strain.
We were all so interwoven and so highly intertwined
Separation ripped at our very fabric
Tearing us apart.
My guilt and pain were so severe
I could feel no joy,
What right did I have to leave my home
And cause such anguish and such loss.
Was what I did to blame for what transpired?
My guilt and conflict were intense and
My head began to ache.
It ached and ached to such a depth
I took often to my bed.
But when you came into my life
And shared my heartbreak and my pain
I felt great intimacy and hope.
Your presence rekindled the fire within my heart.
It gave me love and confidence and quieted my fear.
The courage and conviction that I needed emerged and then freed me
To let go and say good-bye."
Spontaneously I responded to her without a moment's thought.
"I was so disconnected and detached from my own feelings
Before I met you.
I went through my many tasks
And did all of my work
With a sense of duty
Not of joy.
My personal pain and accomplishment
Were well known to me
But I had no real satisfaction, for I had no real desire.
Your innocence cut through my wall
Your voice inspired my soul.
Your tragedy called my feelings forth
And freed my heart to care.
Through you I found my spirit
Through you I found desire.
Desire to love. Desire to feel. Desire to be loved back.
Then and only then did I have a sense of meaning in my life and hope amid despair."
With that I felt as though the heavens opened up and a full symphony orchestra began to play. We both were moved to the depths and heights of grief and ecstasy. Pure trust and loving gratitude wrapped themselves around us both, uniting our souls as one. We laughed, we cried, we jumped with joy, then we stood still in reverie. Soul mates, at one, were we. The awesomeness of soul mates was almost too much to comprehend. Never had we had such intimacy and clarity. We had been truly blessed, and yet...

We are such loving soul mates we cannot bear the thought that death will separate us as well, but that's somehow the final gift. Soul mates cannot be separated. Our souls will ever touch. Ours is a soul's union, a treasure of priceless worth. Unlike loving entanglement, we are not in jeopardy of a devastating heartbreak when left behind. The lesson that we learned is the lesson of the soul. We do not focus on physical presence with its confinement and its end to hold the longing and the bond.

We are spiritually connected, wrapped in the purity of words and song. We are soul mates bound in spirit for all eternity. Our love is etched indelibly and it will never die. We are soul mates forever and our hearts will ever touch. Realizing our love will never die we have the greatest freedom anyone can have, the freedom to love each other deeply without fear. This gift of love washed over us, transforming everything in sight. No fear of death. No fear of loss. Only endless, endless love. There is no greater gift. We are so very blessed. Soul mates, loving soul mates. There is no greater gift. Our love will live forever, and our hearts will ever touch.

Commentary on "Love and Innocence"

So many times the relationship with those we love becomes enmeshed with dependence and blurred boundaries. Without malice, just through misguided love, pain and heartache interfere with children's attempts to separate from parents and leave home. Loving parents entangled in their children's lives find themselves living through them and bereft without them. In this tale I tried to touch the confusion and suffering, anguish and guilt, that each one experiences in this destructive expression of a loving relationship. Innocent, yet deadly, there can be no separation without devastating feelings of abandonment and loss that often have tragic outcomes.

In contrast, the love that emanates from integrity has a sterling quality that radiates true intimacy and caring, without destructive entanglement. Soul mates have the unique privilege of deep and abiding love that frees them to be intimately connected without being intrusive or possessive.The challenge of true love is very complicated. Balancing the separation of self and other while intertwining in intimacy and oneness, demands integrity on every level. We must ground ourselves in ourselves before we go out to another, otherwise, we lose ourselves in them, and instead of intimacy we have possession.Soul mates do not become each other or replace themselves with the other, rather they enrich each other. Neither would be as deeply fulfilled without the other. In my mind, the ultimate intimacy of integrity is found in the capacity to be in a precious relationship as soul mates and to know it.

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