Two surgeries and then radiation for breast cancer left me with large areas of numbness on my left side, in my arm, armpit and shoulder – nerve damage from cutting and zapping. This is strange to live with, but not hugely disruptive until recently, when some of the feeling has started to come back. Sometimes it is almost painful, a waking up – what the cancer world calls “zingers” – like small electrical shocks dancing up and down my arm or shoulder. Sometimes it is almost a Charley-horse: a cramping, or spasm, like after you’ve mucked out a dozen stalls in a barn, or carried tons of book boxes in a move. Distracting, but not unwanted, and it serves as a reminder that I am healing, coming back to a new normal, to a new life. Feeling is healing.
This week, I realized the same was happening, being married again. When my late husband died young and very suddenly of a heart attack, it was like an amputation of love, a massive severing of nerves and feeling. I did, eventually, for survival, go completely numb to the intricacies of intimacy with someone so beloved, someone with whom all the joys and pleasures of coupling seems endless, but clearly isn’t. Luckily, I soon had a child and found rich fulfillment in the kind of love we can and do grow with our beautiful beings, these lovely incarnations who deserve the lavish outpourings of our hearts and minds. Not the same, but a gift.
Now I am married to my dear husband, my mate, the feeder of my heart and soul, and I feel the numbness quickly abating, the nerve endings knitting up and healing after so long. It isn’t that I didn’t begin by loving him, almost from the start, but now, living in a true marriage of two, I feel the tingles of deep intimacy, the joy and laughter, with the sensation of truly being known and cherished that comes in this kind of pairing. I once told a friend that I delight in marriage because it is like being in a private and exclusive club of just two members. I feel those zingers of intimacy, the tingles of deep love – the joy of being in that club of two. Feeling is healing.
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