I lost Tania 10 years ago. This is in her memory.
I met her at a party, and we discovered we had a few things in common—and many more things, as it eventually turned out from later conversations. So many that it was uncanny. [This is how we explained it at our handfasting ceremony]
At that time, she was overworking a full-time job as the Recycling Manager for the City of Berkeley. She was deeply dedicated to saving the environment through recycling, and was responsible for pioneering work in getting large-scale programs established. It seems quaint now, with all the other environmental threats we confront, but when she started in the 1980’s it was cutting-edge activism, and her dedication never wavered. At the same time, she was the single parent of a rebellious 12-year-old, involved with constant struggles at home. I don’t know how she found time away from these two huge responsibilities to come and visit me, but she did. I guess I provided exactly the non-pressured adult time she needed.
I left to go work a gig on a cruise ship, but after a few weeks there, I developed tendonitis in my wrist from overworking. The cruise line sent me home with disability pay, but I was in a bad way: crippled, I could hardly function; homeless, and broke. In desperation, I called Tania and asked for shelter. Without hesitation, she opened her home to me—and her heart, and her bed. It was one demonstration of her profound compassion.
Gradually, I healed. And gradually, I was able to relieve some of Tania’s obsessions. She could leave the office long enough for us to go on hikes together. As her relationship with her son got increasingly stormy and threatening, I persuaded her to let the boy go live with his father. Things became peaceful at home, and we thrived.
The way we decided to marry is a story in itself—read it here.
With my finances more secure, I was able to coax her into some vacation trips. Hawaii, Greece, Morocco.
We had been together 8 years, and married for less than three, when she retired from her job in Berkeley. We were looking forward to new adventures together. But, that didn’t happen. (continued in part two)