I feel like I've come full circle, yet instead of the fear that paralyzed me three years ago, I am full of positive new energy, drive, hope, and love. The last time I was in Hawaii, it was 2007, and I had just been diagnosed with cancer. XH and I went to Honolulu to celebrate our third wedding anniversary. As I am thinking about it now, there was love but also sadness and uncertainty...about life and where it was going to lead the two of us, especially with a terrifying cancer diagnosis. We visited a Buddhist temple at the suggestion of two friends whom we serendipitously ran into at the airport. Our afternoon with Roshi was a grueling examination and exploration about that which I am most deeply attached to: pain, loss, fear. And during the next three years, I would be faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges that would bring me face-to-face with those attachments. In order to survive, I had to experience pain, loss, and fear...and then let it all go.
Here I am, three years later, in Maui celebrating year one of what I know for certain is going to be a life-long relationship with my soulmate. I am cancer-free and healthy. My illness has let go of me, and I have let go of a lot of the pain that has come upon me throughout my treatment and recovery, my divorce, and the loss of our son in April. I still mourn Veo's death, particularly because this would have been the month he would have been born if he had not had that fatal birth defect. And I sometimes still have those unanswerable questions: did my cancer treatment somehow cause that defect? Was it my fault? But a comforting thought came to me yesterday as I was standing on the balcony in Glendale with Anton: the name of our baby boy, Veo Liam, is an anagram for "I am love." Even though I am a self-professed word nerd, we did not name him with this significance in mind. When I told Anton my realization, we both fell silent, smiled, and hugged each other, and it felt to me that at that moment, Veo had come to us to bring the two of us even closer together.
As I sit here on our first morning in Maui, with Anton still sleeping, I am full of reflection about how I got here. And to me, it all comes down to the fact that there is nothing else like this moment.