Joan Stephens

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

I catch them eyeing me speculatively, wondering what is happening with me. I look up from my reading, from playing with Jacob, after making a chess move, and Father's somber, contemplative gaze swiftly changes to a bright, artificial smile. But he will not . . . will never say anything, nor ask me why my change of attitude. But it puzzles him as it puzzles Diana: she who thinks she understands me so well. 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 though Catherine has crossed over, I am still connected to her? That our love is so strong it has circumvented death. She promised that she would never leave me, and somehow she has found a way to remain with me if only through the bond. I do not understand it but I do not question it. To question . . . may destroy it. Do not examine the gifts of the gods too closely; they may be withdrawn.

I felt a small tremor in the depths of my soul when I kissed her on the night that I lost her. That was the first implication of the return of our bond, but I was too deeply immersed in my grief to really feel it. Then when I held our son for the first time and looked deeply into his blue-green eyes, the bond became stronger and surged 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 and drink of my existence. I feel her waiting for me . . . loving me. She comes to me in my dreams, and I know her comfort and wisdom whenever I need them. Our separation will be but for a few short years, and as long as I know she is with me, I can wait until we are together again.

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