Tamara Willems

perspectives on Love and loss…


Today I’m thinking about Love and loss and how they change one’s perspective
and how still,  to return to gratitude

My turtle has died and I am gutted.

That’s ok, I can see eyes rolling, sideways glances…   walking away
But let me tell you about my friend.
As most stories about Love with me start, this one too starts with my husband – who knows my heart so well,  he knows for me it’s not diamonds or mansions.
Instead, one day he brought home for me a little painted turtle,  and I called him James.  He was a lovely quiet fellow, and I loved him dearly.
He has been my joy for many, many years now.  The first good morning I say is to James,  every day, as I turn on his ‘sunshine’.  The last one I say goodnight to on my way up the stairs.

Love changes our perspective on things.

Probably the only one I would be so keen to find a big fat juicy worm for,  to pull it enthusiastically from the earth and carry it squirming in my fingers through the house to offer up as a gourmet meal.
To walking on a rainy day and spotting worms everywhere, and wondering how many I could carry at once, and just how crazy would I appear in a public place, and what would I do with them all day at work?
We also shared a fondness for organic salad which I brought home especially with him in mind, quite proud to say ‘my turtle loves it!’

I marveled at how many different ways he could fall asleep.  Tucked up snuggly in his shell, up on the dock. Or deep down underwater, in a quiet corner.  Sometimes head inside, limbs sticking out, shell standing upright on an angle. Sometimes head out, limbs in.  Nose down in a dive position, one leg out but sound asleep.   He was a marvel,  and we have loved him every day for probably 13 years now.
At times, I struggled with whether we were keeping him safe and giving him a good life,
whether we were indeed holding him
Selfish in our love.

Loss changes our perspective on things.

This morning, I sit quietly and read,  enjoying my coffee and a luxuriously lazy sit.  When I decide it is probably time I should be moving, and head upstairs for my shower,  I am feeling wonderfully serene.  I pass by James and stop to ask him what he is doing sitting on yet another crazy angle.   Then, suddenly I realize ..   we have lost him.
Great sadness and flashes of guilt begin to wash over me – When I said good morning …  did I even look at him?  Did I really see him last night, when I turned off his light?  But I did look at him last night, of course – I always do to see where he is sleeping.   Oh, James…
I walk up the stairs and then back down a few times, finally I decide to cover his tank with a blanket, until I have fully taken this in, and feel I can deal with it.
After my shower, I grab a fresh peach and head outside, it is hot and humid for mid-September, and the sky is cloudy. Everything feels damp.   I stop at the pond but only briefly.  My peach is mush, with not much flavour at all.  I look to my flower garden, but today it all looks rather dull. Mostly what I see, is how the season is turning .. in rather unflattering ways. I walk a little and look up at the sky, one side is still blue, but mostly it seems devoid of colour.   Then,  the sun shines through a cloud and down on me.    And instead of my smile,  tears fill and start to fall, and I feel that familiar ache
of loss.

I know you might say, it’s just a turtle,
but it’s hard this…
I know, that without Love we wouldn’t feel this loss
and without loss
we wouldn’t really know Love

Gratitude changes our perspective on things.

And so, once again,  I go back to my place in the sun
and I offer up my gratitude, fully
for love
for my little friend
as I will miss him

but he stays in a special place
in the expansion

this is my

I AM grateful
I smile,
and then

I breathe …

goodbye James and Thank you
for all

you have given ♥

Leave a Comment