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    
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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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