Karl appears to me in a dream in early December 2016.

He shows me his most adorable, quirky, and funny side. He is glowing, beckoning to me to remember our good times together. I feel deeply nourished by that experience.

By Christmas 2016, eleven months after his death, Karl has developed a most favorable view of the direction of my life is taking. He supports my decision to move to Vancouver and is grateful for whatever role he might have in making that possible.

On 12 March 2017, Karl announces:

Now, dear Wadie, that energy flowing through you — it’s God’s energy — supporting your courageous decision. Please don’t expect anyone to understand or appreciate it. It is your unique expression of your life force — yours alone.

Shifting perceptions of life

Karl’s perceptions of his life and our shared life also shift dramatically following his death. He reflects:

I look at my life — and our life — from a really different viewpoint now. I see how much we helped and loved each other through all of life’s ups and downs. We might have thought that we failed. That is the wrong perception. We succeeded in discovering what life is really all about: the deepest respect and the deepest caring. That was a huge accomplishment. I am so grateful to both of us. It has made this last year so much easier for me. I pray it’s the same for you.

Again, Karl reaffirms the wisdom of my decision to move to Vancouver, echoing the words I had read to him by Mark Nepo in Finding Inner Courage (2007): “In accepting death, we can see more clearly where we can live.”

I am learning that the only question the soul ever asks is, “Where is home?”

Solace in small blessings

Following Karl’s death, I find comfort in many blessings. Reading the autopsy report, I give thanks that he had not a single scratch on him when he died, that he did not suffer, drowning peacefully, with me holding his hand. I marvel at how much Karl did to support me professionally and personally.

While some of my friends fail to understand the more profound circumstances of his past suicide attempt and struggle with depression, all agree that Karl was an incredible support, allowing me to flourish professionally, even though we were not financially successful.

As I delve more deeply into our life together, following the Nimbin community’s massive outpouring of grief, every feature stands out in sharp relief.

I am astonished by how he kept building the house when it seemed like such a futile task. I thank him for his persistence and dedication.

Later, I bless Karl for never being jealous of me. I acknowledge the miracle that he survived his childhood, rising above so many betrayals and disappointments. His growth into a man who was loved by so many people is evidence of his fortitude and perseverance. He taught me so much about masculinity.

A few weeks after his death, I find myself recording these thoughts:

As a woman of 73, I am finally learning about men: what it is to be a man. I am learning about the delicate social and emotional makeup of men and how a man can fashion himself (with all his foibles and weaknesses) into a good man. I had no idea.

I celebrate how we learned to love each other. I am grateful for the smell of Karl’s hair, his emotional intelligence, his love.