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Believing in Love

Overcoming Shyness And Loving Lynn Book Cover Image

Believing in Love

I was just reading the introduction to my book Overcoming Shyness and Loving Lynn – A Memoir which is on Amazon here. One of the intriguing details that I was reading was my lack of a sense that I will fall in love again. It has been a very long time…

I once had so much more confidence and hope. Writing is very therapeutic. Yet, there is so much more that I must do to change my perceptions and feel hope. Love isn’t measured by the length of a relationship. I can say that with some caveats.

In my first two loving relationships, I lost my love long far too soon. My first love was Celta Camille Head. She would tragically die at the end of the year when I met her. I met her in January of 1990. On New Year’s day, I got a very painful phone call… I heard the words Celta died last night. It was sometime in the morning, Tuesday, January 1, when I heard those words. I put down the phone and began to cry, to weep bitterly. There had been a fire, I was told.

The next year of 1991 was very dark and I was in great pain. Somehow I found ways to heal. I turned 25 in 1991. I had gone to a grief support group during this time. I was by far the youngest person in the group. Many of the attendees were much older and had lost a spouse that they had been married to for many years. Yet, they made me feel welcome and I found healing.

Then in April of 1992, I moved to Wilmington, NC for a contract job as a technical writer. I had an undergraduate degree in engineering and I had plans to pursue a Master of Social Work degree for the next chapter in my life. I was also discovering my passion for creative expression and writing. I had begun writing poetry on a routine and regular basis. I was writing to heal from the grief of having lost Celta.

I came to Wilmington and within the first week, I showed up at a poetry reading and forced myself to get up in front of a crowd and share my poetry with others. This was quite an accomplishment since I had been extremely shy and I had suffered from social anxiety and social phobia. I think of phobia as a situation in which one avoids the stimulus that triggers nervousness or anxiety. This can be loosely contrasted with social anxiety where one engages in social activities but one experiences anxiety when doing so. I had all these problems. Shyness can also be thought of as having limited social skills.

I was sharing poems about Celta, my love for Celta, and the grief that I had known. Yet somehow I was able to heal and meet someone else. Her name was Lynn Denise Krupey. Anyway, I arrived in Wilmington in April of 1992. I turned 26 on the 22nd of that month.

Lynn Denise Krupey

I found the courage to ask Lynn out in advance of the 4th of July 1992. Two years later, Lynn and I were engaged. I had fallen madly in love. I felt such passionate joy.

The tragic part of this story is that Lynn had been born with a genetic illness called Cystic Fibrosis (CF). It is a terminal illness. I didn’t let myself think about the reality of life without Lynn someday. At one point, not too long ago, people with CF rarely lived into adulthood.

The point I am making is that it is not how much time two people can have together that is important to consider. That’s not the right way to think about these matters. It would be more appropriate to think about one spouse outliving the other. That was the reality that I had to accept. I don’t know that I was thinking about that too much. It would have been very depressing to live my life knowing that I would have to prepare to live a life after the death of Lynn.

What is so tragic that very few people can fully appreciate is that this was an overwhelmingly painful reality that I had to face. I confronted it like one might face a phobia. I pushed it out of my mind. I didn’t think about it at all.

That was my undoing. I don’t think Lynn put a great deal of thought into the fact that this was what I was doing. I was denying that reality. I was not preparing for the time when Lynn’s illness would catch up with her. She would need me to be strong for her. To help and support her.

I failed. I think that maybe I doubt that I deserve love or happiness because I had let down Lynn… I had not been there for her. I do not make any excuses for my failure or my weakness. Perhaps I am gaining new insights into the challenges that I did face.

It remains a painful fact that I let Lynn down with my weakness… a psyche that could not cope with the idea of losing her. Tragically, that fear of losing Lynn caused me to lose Lynn long before her death. Yep. She had become so incredibly sick in late July of 2000. She had been doing so well up until that point. Then things changed. I was terrified by the prospect of her death. It seemed that she was losing her battle with CF.

So, she didn’t actually die that year but the risk to her life was very real. I was weak – emotionally and psychologically. Tragically, my reaction to the prospect of losing Lynn would cause me to lose her. I wasn’t with her during the next decade and a half of her life.

I suppose this has made me feel undeserving of love.

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