Enchanted Love, How The Act of Forgiveness Can be the First Step in Returning to Love

Enchanted Love
Love Doesn’t Always Come Just Once in a Lifetime…
How the act of forgiveness can be the first step in returning to Love
  Sandy Peckinpah

“Grilling some eggplant...I’ve been thinking about pesto, prosciutto, Roma tomatoes, grilled eggplant and toasted sourdough bread all day. The Panini maker is coming out of the cupboard and hallelujah! Can't decide on the cheese, though... Any suggestions?”

 That “status update” went out to my circle of friends on Facebook. It ignited a conversation, and little did I know then, my grilled Italian sandwich was about to change my life, forever. I stared at the computer and read a response, “you are killing me! 

What? Who is Jim?   

That was in 2010. Facebook was new to me and I quickly created a new community of friends gathered together from my past, my present…and little did I know, my future.

It had been 10 years since my divorce. I thought I had enchanted love. My husband and I had four children and a successful show business life, but our love couldn’t survive the worst that could happen. Our sweet wonderful 16-year old boy died suddenly of bacterial meningitis.

What followed was grief and despair followed by a separation in love and commitment, and suddenly,  I was no longer the love of his life.

David’s career as a writer-producer spiraled down shortly after our divorce. His sci-fi show “Sliders” got canceled and his contract with Universal Studios ended. He was at the end of his finances and could no longer support me, or the children.

At that point, I discovered there’s a thin line between love and hate, and both are driven by passion. I was angry with him for leaving us, for not supporting us, for letting the career that we built for 25 years, fall apartI never wanted to see him again.

By April of 2006, I had created a whole new life. I moved out of Los Angeles with my children and started a real estate career in the quiet little town of Murrieta. I didn’t need David financially; I was proving to myself that I could do it on my own. As odd as it seemed, it was then I began missing him.

He had remarried and moved to Canada, but on this particular day in 2006, he was coming alone to spend the day with the children.

Something had changed in the last month or so. He began contacting me by email and phone and asked for my input. We had been such a creative force together. He sounded strong and not beaten down as he had in the last few years.

I knew my workday was going to be long, but my goal was to be done at 5:00 so I could see him when he brought the children home.

The day grew late. I looked at my face in the mirror, applied fresh lipstick and a splash of perfume. I straightened papers at my desk, and slipped my computer into the bag. Then I got a business call. 

I hung up and looked at the time. Oh no! It’s past five! I knew David had to be back in LA that night to have dinner with Trevor, our 25 year old son. I got in my car and frantically dialed his number.

“David! I’m on my way… don’t leave yet!”

“Oh Sandy, I’m sorry. I dropped the kids off at the house. I’m already near Corona. 

My heart sank.

“But Sandy,” There was a long, expectant pause, “I’m coming back to LA. I’m pretty excited about my new script.” He continued. “Maybe you can read it!”

“David! Sure! I’d love to read it! That’s great! My heart was pounding. "The kids will be so happy you’re coming back!”  (My heart whispered. I knew it! It’s what I’d been feeling for weeks.)

He continued, “I had a great day with the kids. They’re incredible, Sandy. That’s because of you.”

“It’s us, David…we know how to make great kids.” There was a long sweet silence ruminating on the miracles we created together. “David, I want you to be a part of our lives again,” my voice trembled. “I miss you. I miss us.”

“I know, I miss you, too.” It was hard for him to say, but he said it. He said it.

“You could come for Thanksgiving! You and… your wife,” I replied. That was the hardest sentence of all…to include her“ I just want to have you in our lives again.” I said.

He took a breath.“I’m working on that,” he cleared his throat, “on being in your lives again.”

“Good,” I could no longer hold it in, “David... what happened to us? We were so happy. We had such a good life together. We made such a beautiful family.”

“Yes… we did.” He searched for words. How well I knew his writer’s brain. I could read every pause, every sigh, every breath.

“I guess… well… I guess it was the only way I could process losing Garrett. It hurt too much. I know, now, it wasn’t you, Sandy and I’m sorry. I just had to go away,  live life differently.”

So there it was. Exactly what I needed to hear all of these years. Searching, questioning, feeling like I had done something to cause it, that I wasn’t good enough, that I was the bad wife. As women, it’s sometimes so easy to take on the burden of guilt, even when it’s not ours to bear.

But it wasn’t me. It was the incredibly tragic loss of our son that wounded us both beyond anything we could have imagined. Our grief seized control, chiseled away at our foundation, and our enchanted love could no longer support us through the fall as the walls came tumbling down.

David whispered.  “I’ll be back in a month. We can see each other then.”

“Really, David? I would like that…a lot.” There was a long silence so full of words he couldn’t say… yet.

“Well… I’m having dinner with Trevor… ” he left the sentence hanging.

“So…great!” I wiped the tears with the back of my hand. I could hardly drive. 

“Tell Trevor I love him. Call me when you get back into town. Um… David, I’ve missed you.”

He replied quietly, “I've missed you, too.”

Add caption
The call ended, but I held onto this gift: The Reason. No, our love didn’t die. We had a foundation of love that we created four  beautiful children. That love remains in every cell of our bodies, and lives on in our children forever.  It all boiled down to one tragic moment that changed our lives forever. Together, we had lost our beautiful son.

Three weeks later David died. A heart attack took him at the age of 54. He never made it back to LA.

I realized in that last conversation, I had achieved the highest state of soul  love. I went full circle with him, found power in the act of forgiveness and returned to love.  I now know that the gift in forgiving is the state of grace.

Years later I began to I question, is there really only one true love in a lifetime?  
And so in 2010, four year’s after David's death, I was open to finding love again.

I often wrote about food on Facebook because cooking and eating is one of my great pleasures in life, and it connects people.

If you write about an Italian grilled sandwich on crusty Ciabatta bread with freshly made pesto, you’re bound to get 20 or 30 comments!  And I make my own pesto, which invites inquiries from my FB friends for the recipe.

With that enticing little “status update”another chapter of my life was just about to begin. The response was from a man I first crossed paths with 43 years before. I was just 16 and flew to New York to audition for a show that would send me around the world singing and dancing. I remembered getting off the bus with my suitcase in hand and my eyes wide open.

There he was, just 20 at the time. He said I didn’t notice him, and I don’t think I did. Had we spoken then, my life would have been very different. How fortunate life has taught me it doesn’t always happen the way we think it should. In the 43 years since we first met, I had a lifetime of lessons to learn.

I learned that love is a privilege and a commitment and not always easy. And, during my first union, I was also given the greatest gift. I became a mother.

Crossing paths in New York that day, 43 years ago, the course of my life actually changed forever. But I didn’t know, then… until he wrote on Facebook: Sandy, “You’re killing me.”

I responded to his post: “Why?”  And James de Girolamo wrote 5 paragraphs on food and passion.

The point is, Sandy,” he wrote, “ In a culture that now moves too quickly to celebrate connections with each other, we can find that place at the table over food prepared by caring hands, around the fire with flames and plumes of smoke…

Orion Organic Dinnerware
James was speaking my language of love and writing was his gift. His heart and spirit were expressed through his business, Orion Trading and Design, a company that designs and creates unique dinnerware for the restaurant industry. 

He lived and worked in another state and our only communication was the written word, until one day, months later, we met. That event brought forth a love like I’ve never known.

He said I was tempered by fire, and I think he was right, but, he said, he would embrace all that I am, my past, my present, and my future… and love me for the rest of my life.

We were married two years ago.

Here’s what I’ve learned about love in the second act of my life:
1.     Love isn’t about an age or a time or a place. It’s about a connection between two people that cannot be denied. Inherently we all want to love and be loved no matter what our stage in life. Has fear held you back? Time to begin looking at that and why.

2.     Love is available and present to us, but we have to be open to it. Love and awakening to love takes practice. Turn your “green light” on if you’re looking for love. It will show in the way you walk, talk, and hold another’s gaze. Put yourself out into the world and see what happens!

3.     Whoever has been in your past was there to teach you something about love. If you thought you had your soul mate, and now they’re gone, use what you learned about love to enhance a new relationship. You have so much to give!

4.     Character and beliefs are more important than whether you feel “attraction.” Pre-conceived ideas about how someone looks or their accomplishments hold you back. What is important is looking at the kind of person they really are.

5.     The need to be “right” limits our soul connection. It causes the other person to feel they need to defend themselves. Make amends when they are called for. Life is too short.

6.     Forgiveness helps you grow. Let go of resentments you may have been holding onto for decades. Instead, feel the shift when you can be thankful for the lessons learned by forgiving your ex-lover. Forgiveness releases the shackles of anger and allows your soul to return to love and a state of grace. 

7.     Strengthen the love you have for yourself. Louise Hay recommends you start by looking in the mirror and saying “I love you. I really, really love you.” What causes our spirit to connect with another is how much our heart is open to our own love of self. 
Our wedding dance

8.   It’s the reflection of who you are in their eyes that begins the profound love connection.

In the golden years, recognize that you are still a wonderful soul who desires and can give love. I call it the “teenage years” of the second half of my life.

   By now, you’ve experienced a lot of life and it’s the sum total of your life that is rich with the ability to love again. Be open to the possibility that another soul mate is just waiting to meet you for the next act of your beautiful story.

And…Believe in the miracle of enchanted love. I’m so glad I did.

And they live LOVE...happily ever after.

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Sandy Peckinpah writes and speaks on surviving loss and activating resilience. Her new award winning book entitled, "How to Survive the Worst that Can Happen" is a parent's step by step guide for healing after the loss of a child, based on her own experience of losing her 16 year old son. She also hosts a radio show in Northern CA on KRXA AM Talk Radio.
Website: www.SandyPeckinpah.com    
Visit my website and sign in to 
download my FREE ebook 
Stepping Stones to a Resilient Life

Email: contact: sandy@sandypeckinpah.com

Visit my website and sign in to download my FREE ebook, Stepping Stones to a Resilient Life

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  1. What a beautiful story of love and forgiveness and beginning again.

    1. Thank you Pattie, I appreciate your thoughts and your time for reading it. :)

  2. HI Sandy,
    I just found your blog. What a beautiful story, bless you for sharing it.


    1. Thank you for taking time to read it and comment. I appreciate it!

  3. You are welcome! Have a happy weekend! :)

  4. Beautiful! And so very relevant in this day and age. I love your description - “teenage years” of the second half of my life. So very, very inspiring.

    ~ Heather from Canada

    1. Thank You Heather! I really think I may be having more fun now in this second set of teenage years! Thank you for your kind thoughts.
      Best wishes, Sandy

  5. So glad Melissa tweeted this. Beautifully strong story. I was widowed at 38 and am now living the best years of my life with someone I met in an online grief support group. You just never know.

    I am so sorry for your losses, and I rejoice in your strengths and your happiness!
    As the Christopher Reeve fob on my keychain says... Go Forward.
    All the best!

    1. You replied to everyone but me... I'm a fragile artist, and cut to the quick!

    2. Oh no Diana! I'm so sorry! I was doing it on my iPad and missed your incredibly beautiful post. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I am so happy to hear of your recovery and subsequent bonus...a wonderful husband! I hope people realize there are so many options to finding help and support, especially online. I'm sure your story is an inspiration to many.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to write!
      Best wishes and joy, Sandy

    3. HI Diana, This is an addition to my reply...I wanted to make sure you got my previous reply. Have a great day, and I return the rejoicing in happiness to you!

  6. Such a beautiful story filled with love, loss, forgiveness and a second chance! All the best to you and your family!


    1. Thank you Michele for taking the time to read it and share your thoughts. I really appreciate it!
      Best wishes, Sandy

  7. The most important thing I've learned about love is that not all love is meant to be permanent. And just because it doesn't last doesn't mean it wasn't perfect. Or meaningful. Some love is meant for a certain time and place...and other love is meant to last a lifetime.

    1. Wow Miranda, you really summed it up so beautifully and so profoundly. Thank you.
      Best wishes, Sandy

  8. Beautifully written. The best way to learn is through experience. Your experiences, good and tragic, have made you who you are and given you wisdom that you share. Thank you for sharing!

  9. Wilma, Thank you for your comments. I appreciate it! Sending you blessings and joy. Best wishes, Sandy

  10. Such a beautiful, wonderful post, Sandy. Forgiveness is THE most important ... My mother to this day has not forgiven my father and he has been gone nearly 14 years. It makes me so sad to see her, well, bitter. Yet, it is a personal decision... and a hard one at that. I know and believe that true love can be a part of someones life once they forgive themselves and others for whatever hurt there is. There is no room for love in a heart full of anger.

    Thank you for such pure honesty and sharing the most difficult parts of your life... It is very loving thing to do!

  11. I read this a while back and shared it but reading it again, I just had to say...Amazing. I have been thinking(probably more like struggling) in this belief about enchanted love. I'm single, I'm happy and I feel like I'm good solo...then that thing creeps in...and I question a lot of things including whether this enchanting man exists. It's a journey and I'm so happy for you that you were able to experience it again. Thanks so much for sharing this inspirational story and you look BEAUTIFUL! :)

    1. Thank you so much! I really believe that we are meant to live life sharing with another person. Whether that means holding your friends close or a partner in life, we need the reflection of love that another being gives. I see some women who thought there was only one, and then live out there lives never enjoying love with another person. I want to leave this earth knowing that I have fully given out as much love as I am capable. If I had met my husband right after I was divorced, I don't know that I would have recognized what a beautiful partner he could be. I really had to close doors and go into self discovery about what was important to me. I made some really wrong choices before I met him! Oh my! Really, really wrong. But it just helped me discover what I wanted. Thanks for taking the time to comment! Best wishes, Sandy

  12. Hi Sandy,
    Happy weekend to you!

    1. Thank you Pam. Have a lovely weekend yourself! :) and Thank you for taking the time to write.

  13. Hello Sandy, thanks for sharing your story. Your meeting with your husband is amazing. Lots of happiness:) have a great day xoxo

    1. Thank you Audrey. It was a miracle! I can't help but feel happiness when I'm so blessed to find love again. Best wishes, Sandy

  14. Even good things must come to an end. Be thankful that you once experienced an almost perfect family life. See this ‘failed marriage’ as an opportunity to discovery greater things that awaits you. As long as there’s love in your heart, life will go on!

    1. HI Janay, Thank you for your insight. So true...the love in my heart has given me a springboard for the rest of my life!
      Best wishes, Sandy

    2. Sandy;
      Thank you so much for sharing your life journey with us. Your honesty and vulnerability in your lessons is a gift to many.
      I also relate to your love story. Bob and I met in Up With People and were married 40 years later. Yes; I loved him then and now is perfect timing.
      May you continue to be blessed beyond measure.
      Pam Parker Huff

    3. Thank you Pam! I loved seeing the evolution of your love with Bob, second time around! It's a beautiful story! Blessings to you, as well. xoxo

  15. Dear Sandy,

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I wish you and Jim all the happiness the world can bring to you. Hugs,
    Cathy Montante

    1. Thank you Cathy. I appreciate your part in our wedding! Thank you for helping me find the most beautiful dress in the world! Hugs right back to you.

  16. Beautifully written Sandy. I'm very lucky to be apart of the early years. Garrett and David are looking down upon us now so proud. Love you.


    1. George, You are always part of my beautiful memories when Garrett was small and David was still alive...and now, I love reconnecting with you on FB! I always want you to know...I love you too!

  17. I have tears in my eyes from your heartfelt post Sandy. Tempered by fire, that also resonates with me. I am not to forgiveness yet, but am opening my heart to love more every day...

    Blessings, Jan Davidson (from Jennifer's Abundance weekend)

    1. Thank you Jan... You are such an incredibly courageous, creative person. I've been thinking about you and so glad to hear your heart is opening up to the great opportunities that await you. I'm so glad we connected. xoxo



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