Joan Stephens

Father is worried about me. My family is worried about me. They donot understand the complete reversal of my feelings. I have given upmy sorrow. True, there is the pain of separation; I miss her. Imiss her physical presence, her touch, and the feel of her in myarms, but I have my son and the feelings he evokes when he puts hisarms trustingly around my neck. It is not the same and never enoughbut it will sustain me for now.

I catch them eyeing me speculatively, wondering what is happeningwith me. I look up from my reading, from playing with Jacob, aftermaking a chess move, and Father's somber, contemplative gaze swiftlychanges to a bright, artificial smile. But he will not . . . willnever say anything, nor ask me why my change of attitude. But itpuzzles him as it puzzles Diana: she who thinks she understands me sowell. She does yet she doesn't. If I tell them what has happened,they will think me mad. Or worse: imagining everything.

I cannot tell them. For how do I explain that even thoughCatherine has crossed over, I am still connected to her? That ourlove is so strong it has circumvented death. She promised that shewould never leave me, and somehow she has found a way to remain withme if only through the bond. I do not understand it but I do notquestion it. To question . . . may destroy it. Do not examine thegifts of the gods too closely; they may be withdrawn.

I felt a small tremor in the depths of my soul when I kissed heron the night that I lost her. That was the first implication of thereturn of our bond, but I was too deeply immersed in my grief toreally feel it. Then when I held our son for the first time andlooked deeply into his blue-green eyes, the bond became stronger andsurged into completion on his naming day when I felt her presence. The peace of mind and the closeness I feel to her is the meat anddrink of my existence. I feel her waiting for me . . . loving me. She comes to me in my dreams, and I know her comfort and wisdomwhenever I need them. Our separation will be but for a few shortyears, and as long as I know she is with me, I can wait until we aretogether again.

My father, my friends all grieve for me, worry about me, afraidthat I am only denying my grief at my loss, afraid that it will allcome crashing down on me someday and destroy me. But I can onlycontinue on as I am now and hope that they will eventually find theirown answers. If not completely happy, I rest content in the love ofour son until he is grown and ready to find his own bondmate. Then Iknow that she will come for me. How? I don't know. But she willcome, then no one will say of me that I am alone.