The inside is your outside.

Since what is your inside is your outside/And the one who shapes your outside is he who shaped your inside/And what you see on the outside, you see revealed on the inside/It is your clothingThe Thunder: Perfect Mind

My first girlfriend — my first, true ”adulting” relationship — died last year. I just found out this weekend. I learned long ago not to sniff around where I’m not invited, yet a funny little thing that always made me laugh and roll my eyes popped in my memory and I typed her name, expecting to see accolades. I found those, a eulogy and a picture of a woman I barely recognized, except for the smile and those lovely dimples.

I’m grieving.

She’s probably surprised by my reaction; we certainly had good times together but neither one of us would claim that we were the great loves. She was difficult and needy; I was tempestuous and riddled with anxiety as I peeked out of the closet. Ah, the good times of our 20s!

One of the main comments people left on her Legacy page – I can’t believe I’m even writing that — is that she had a heart of gold. A good heart. A kind heart. One who welcomed those who felt unwelcome. Sweet. Witty. Sparkling dinner parties. A sharp and insightful mind.

All of it is true.

Even I was surprised by my reaction because I haven’t seen or spoken to her in decades. Nor do I have regret or wish that we’d stayed in touch. She found happiness with someone else and I’ve carved out a wonderful life full of adventure and beauty. I’m allowing myself to cry and grieve, even if I don’t completely understand why. As the days pass, I learn more about her impact and my curiosity and fear of death — which ironically, I worked on with my hypnotherapist last week.

She helped me see what was possible. A real love with a real woman; imperfect and at times dramatic but a soft place to land. We talked writing and books. We watched Graf and Seles and Sabatini battle it out, live at the Open. She helped me become the foodie I am today as we explored the City. She sang, laughed and brought out my silly side. With all of my traumas, I could have ended up with a real lunatic who destroyed my heart further, as I had just left the church and didn’t know how to ”lesbian”. Instead, I found her. Thank the Goddess for that. I didn’t need her for a lifetime. Just that particular moment to find my courage and then let her/us go.

If indeed our insides match our outsides, then she stepped into a wondrous paradise (my cards confirm that) and I’ve spent the last couple of days thanking her for everything that she brought to me. I could not have said these words back then for lack of experience and knowledge; yet I believe her spirit hears me in her particular dimension. It’s my way of thanking her and saying goodbye, though we’ll always be connected on some level as we continue on.

Perhaps every love is the great love because of the treasures we offer to another, even if we can’t fully appreciate them at the time. It’s the gift of love that has no expiration, even when the body is gone. It makes me so happy that she had a full life and helped refugees because it brought her joy. She was greatly loved because she is love, as we all are and have always been.

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