Rose proposes


Yesterday Rose and I drove for about 6 hours home from our little get away. I don’t cope with coming home sometimes. By bedtime I was a mess, head full of noise, overwhelmed by emotional pain. We lay together in the lamplight and I pulled apart my heart in confession: “I feel so bad at times I would do nearly anything to stop it.”

“My thoughts are turning to suicide.”

“The contrast between glowing with health and hope in pregnancy and now not caring about my body and wresting with self harm is shattering.”

“I feel like I’m letting you down.”

“I feel scrutinised and under pressure to cope gracefully or at least to hide how much this is hurting so that I don’t seem ill. I feel in a double bind where wanting a child very much and loving them very deeply is seen as a sign that I would be a good parent, but grieving them deeply and being affected by their death is somehow a sign that I am worryingly ‘mentally ill’ and would not be a good parent.”

“I want to run away from my life. I want to hide under a rock. And I don’t understand it because I’ve worked so hard for my life. I love it. But right now I hate it.”

Rose stepped into that place with me. She didn’t argue or hush me. She shared her own pain and sorrow, her own desire to run, the sense of pressure to cope. “I thought you were coping so well and I was the ‘ill’ one.” And in that sacred place of shared pain, a relief. Illuminated by the fire from our burning dreams, we lay naked in darkness and shared our hearts with gentle, brutal honesty and I felt like I was breaking and I felt like I could breathe because I wasn’t alone. There’s a kind of nakedness that has nothing to do with clothes. She wiped tears from my face and on impulse, scrapped grand plans for a big romantic reveal. She dashed into the rain and found the ring hidden in the shed and sat on the bed with me to tell me how much I’ve changed her life, how deeply she loves me in my light and darkness, how privileged she feels to be so close to me, to all of us who are Sarah. She asked us to be her family and gave us this ring.

The ring is from the same jeweller that made hers, all the coloured stones are sapphires from around the world, and the diamonds are ethically mined. The rings are similar but different, just like us. Rose’s ring:


So there in the dark it shines on my finger. She loves me as I am, not just for my best days, my successes and triumphs. Even in darkness, broken-hearted and lost, she loves me.

“I don’t want this ring to be about pain or Tamlorn’s death. But it just felt right that you need a symbol now to take with you to remind you that I love you.”

This is our family. The rain crashes through the night. “If you have to run away, I’ll understand.” I tell her, “Run and be safe and come back to me.”

“If you have to run, just tell me.” She says, “We’ll find somewhere safe for the animals and run together”. We lay blessings on each other from one broken heart to another.

I proposed to her in a forest, at a time when our lives were bathed in light, full of hope and excitement. She proposed to me in a storm, at a time of deep grief and loss. They are perfect bookends. This is who we are. She loves us, and we love her.

Poem – For Rose: Oh my beloved

This is the poem we wrote for Rose to propose with. We read it to her before revealing her ring.

Oh my beloved
Will you come and make your home within my heart?
Let us be family with one another
In so many ways – lover, sister, friend
We are so many things unto each other
Come and make your home within my heart.
Come and build a home with me,
Come share a bed
Hold me when the dreams sing in my bones
And when the nightmares shake them.
Run away some nights when the wind is calling…
Don’t promise me your future, love
This is no cage or collar
Do not be mine, be yet your own
Let your wild places still be wild
Keep your secrets; let the night sing in your smile
Grow, and change, confuse me, frustrate me
Break my heart, and help me heal it
Walk with me in the wilds where there is no path
Let us be lost, together and apart,
Let us pick wisdom from our heels like thorns
When your night is empty, call my name.
Come and make your home within my heart
I’ll let you down, there are days you will feel homeless
I’m a little broken and sometimes the rain gets in
We will eat love like bread and some days still go hungry
We know love like children who have been hurt
We know grace like widows who hold hands over graves.
Come and make your home within my heart
We send a song out into the darkness
To call our children home, to adore them
For as long as we are blessed with heartbeats
And forever after.
Oh beloved,
Let me be at home within your heart
I know its a little broken, and the rain gets in
In your beauty, I rest my jaded soul
In your kindness I know peace
In you my joys are doubled and my sorrows halved.

She loves me

20141109_133402-1I proposed to beloved Rose over the weekend, and she accepted! We’re now engaged. This is her gorgeous ring, a rainbow of 23 princess cut, ethically mined sapphires in different colours, two strands entwined. We can’t actually get married here in Australia, but I felt that we needed to rebalance all the forms, paperwork, lawyers, and bureaucracy that has become part of putting our lives together… we needed some heartfelt romance and rituals of love too.

I’ve been quietly asking little questions and gathering her feelings about rings, proposals, and relationships for months. I was able to put together a good idea of what she’d love – a surprise proposal, somewhere private but beautiful, a story to be able to tell the kids (or grandkids!), a non-traditional looking engagement ring chosen for her, with no diamonds and lots of meaning. I’ve been using my month of recovering from surgery to sneakily put it all together and keep it secret and hide the ring in the house where she won’t find it and I won’t forget it (tip – tell a friend!), and get over the weird ‘worms wriggling in my guts’ feeling of spinning a whole web of plausible lies to keep the surprise, and asked for help and input from various friends. Plans unravelled more than once and needed to be completely rethought, and I was nearly overcome by emotion on several particularly moving nights before the big event and wrecked it all by giving her the ring on the spot, but somehow we kept it all together, and it worked!

She loved it. She said yes. We cried. We made happy memories of the most wonderful weekend. When I can get my photos off my camera I’ll tell you the story. She headed off to work this morning and kissed me goodbye and wished her fiancée a good day. I don’t think that’s getting old for awhile. She’s so gorgeous, and I’m so happy to make her light up like this. I’m humbled. I’m so lucky that she loves me.

I’m engaged!