The Ties that Bind Unseen
Author: Linda Ambard
A mirror displays a reflection of something that is solid and real, but reflection is only manifested by what the eye can see. Those mirrored reflections are only part of the story for behind what the eye can see is something bigger, something truer, and something more permanent. Time has changed the planes of my face. No longer does a young girl peer back. Instead, my skin is ravaged by life and the lines reflect laughter and a life well lived. The ravages and the eyes belie of something deeper, however. The quiet longing, the look of having been through something bigger than one’s self, and a maturity well beyond my years plays out in the visage people can see. There is more to me than what the eye can see.
As I face another birthday alone, I am looking at what people cannot see or know about me. The mirror tells a person what others can see, but can they see the changes inside? Can they see what pushes me and compels me forward? Can they see that although the physical relationship with Phil is gone, that the spiritual connection and love live on? Sometimes it is easy to think that what we see is the only reality, but I know better.
Looking at a dead person is never easy, but every person that has done this can testify to the same truism—the person’s body is right in front of them, but something is missing. The body is the body, but somehow the essence of what was once is gone. That spirit is that presence that lives on inside of a person and I would argue, is more acutely felt in the pain that gouges the heart with longing. Like love, I cannot see it, but I know it. I know that people love me even if I don’t see love. I think understanding of the nature of an ongoing relationship is in the idea of a reflection. Phil is gone from this earth, but it doesn’t change his love for me or my love for him. I sense his presence and I see it reflected in the lives of our children. Phil’s legacy of duty, honor, commitment, faith, life, and love did not end with the death of his physical body, but the legacy grows and shines through my work, my ability to stand strong and to embrace life, and it lives on reflected in the five children who called him dad.
Recognizing that the physical presence is gone is painful, heart shattering agony, but time has brought me to looking for the shadows and reflections. I am not living in denial or in the past, but looking for how I can step forward without giving up the unseen ties of the past. I simply cannot let those ties go, for in letting the unseen go, I am letting go of Phil’s physical presence. No matter what my days ahead will bring, and even if I one day let someone else in, it will never sever or end the relationship with Phil. I am who I am because I loved well and he loved me well. With quiet confidence, I can look at what remains and know with surety that what is seen is only a small part of the story.