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I don’t know why I feel the hollowness of loss when, in fact, what I’m missing has disappeared well over a year ago.

Depression is a thief. It rips the heart and soul out of the one you love and leaves them a shell, with the cold wind of despair howling through them.

I had my own wrestle with it. The longest, darkest year. Eventually I became whole again. I’d glued myself back together, and this time it was going to hold. I could feel it. The cracks still very visible and the glue still damp to the touch. But I was in one piece. Most importantly, my heart was one. A container capable of holding feelings, instead of shattered numbness. And it was at this point I packed the car and headed for the hoe-down at The Ranch, with one intention. One word branded in the middle of my chest and waiting on the tip of my tongue to be swallowed, so that it could become part of me. Joy. The fire of joy was going to be lit in my heart again, and my heart was going to be able to contain it. Just an ember would be enough, and then it could spread. But I needed to feel the tiny glow of warmth first.

Now I was naïve enough to think things would go to plan. I thought that dancing till my feet were ablaze would surely start the fire in my heart. And I was right.

On the first morning of a 3 day dancing journey my soul caught alight. And like a golden glowing chalice, my heart held it. There was no darkness to smother it. No creeping wet fog to cling or cover. I smiled with the mountains and the river and I felt joy. I was joy. A year of darkness was over and I could finally follow my own light and let the real healing begin.

And then, on the first afternoon of the 3 day dancing journey, I got more than I bargained for. I saw someone else’s light. It was bright and blinding and beautiful and I didn’t think it was real. How could it be? I was here only to reignite my own spark, not to discover someone else’s.

But there was no looking away. When we stood and kissed on the third and final afternoon I could see his fire was blue. Ancient, deep, Egyptian blue.

In moments of solitude when I was catching my breath, I spoke out loud to myself. Fiercely. “Don’t you dare run away,” I commanded the part of me that was so taken aback by the unexpectedness that she wanted to retreat into the safe shadows of the trees, where the path was familiar. I didn’t know what this was, or what it could become, but when there is healing on the horizon it’s time for stepping forwards, not back.

So I ran headlong into brilliance. Burning with feverish joy I became the floating ember swirling above the fire, lifted free by the warm air current. We lived as two luminous sparks, cosmic fiery-fairy dust for a year. Higher and higher. Brighter and brighter. From glowing earth particles to infinite end-of-the-spiral-void stars and back again. We travelled to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe and consumed each other and were back in time for tea and Tim Tams.

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And then, quite suddenly it seemed, his brilliant blue spark stopped glowing. His joy light went out, smothered in the black ash of depression that erupted from him and rained down. First floating and then settling heavily as it became deeper and deeper and he became unrecognisable.

He’s been in blackness for more than 12 months. I shine my searchlight as directly and powerfully as I can. But it doesn’t penetrate the black octopus ink. I can’t see him and he can’t see me.

Sometimes I grieve for the lost warmth. I’m a pyromaniac without a focus. For the freedom we had together, the mid-flight magnetic connection.  As much as I grieve for our lost joy, I’m embarrassed by it. It seems a childish and self-indulgent thing. But mostly I grieve for the loss of his joy.

None of which can compare to his grief at the loss of himself.

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