Forever Love, musings from Carrie Chapple, John’s former wife

I was recently asked why it was so important for me to attend John’s memorial service when I had not seen him in many years and had communicated only through e-mails in recent years. The answer is that much of the woman that I have becomeĀ  is directly attributable to John.

Our friendship, courtship, marriage, loss of our child, divorce and subsequent reconciliations lasted from 1980 to 1991, a period of more than eleven years. Sadly, it could have lasted longer than that if I had been brave enough to try yet again with him in 1991.

During our extended relationship, I had my first poem accepted by a publisher, won my first literary competition, did my first public reading in an open mike forum, went on my first protest march, signed my first petition, went to my first political rally, lived in my first housing co-operative, and did my first advocacy for others, all with his support and encouragement. John taught me about social justice and that it was sexy to be an intelligent woman. It is thanks to John’s tenacity in gaining his own degree and his black belts, that I was able to emulate him and devote ten years to the gaining of my own two degrees while raising four children.

John described himself as a secular humanist but he taught me that it is possible to be spiritual without being religious. In my estimation, John’s musical gifts, his respect for nature and his care for those in need was nothing less than Divine.

John helped me to heal from sexual trauma by using great patience and respectful sensuality. He taught me that a man can be gentle without being weak, and strong without being aggressive, angry, or controlling. I loved John passionately, carried him in my heart always, and he was, and will remain, the measuring stick for any man in my life.

I was John’s first lover and he repaid me by teaching me how to live, with integrity and with courage. I am thankful for the privilege of being his wife. I want to share with you that I believe we can best celebrate his life by living our own, each day, to the fullest of our abilities, with creativity, with love,with honour, and with dignity as John did. And we had better laugh loudly and dance our asses off every chance we get!

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