The warmth of our many years together was surely a godsend.
But it ended when I was near 65 years of age. We had become
accustomed growing old together. There surely was talk after
so many years, whether from my monks or even among Lady
Helen's family. But, evidently, no one saw any harm and probably
were quite amused by all of it. We both had white hair by this
time, so this marked us as "old." So what's the harm!
The "harm" set-in for me that terrible sad day when I was
summoned to Lady Helen's manor. Her son had sent a messenger,
urgently requesting that I come as fast as I could. My beloved
was dying! Incredible. It was all so sudden. Never a great
horseman, I pushed my steed to move furiously fast. Never
having been to my lady's manor, I followed their messenger.
Upon arrival I was taken to her bedroom. I could not fathom
what was wrong, what might have happened, but it was obvious
that Lady Helen was on the brink of death. She remained
conscious and requested that everyone in the room leave,
except me. With eyes glistening with tears, we both cried
together. Realizing that she was near her leave-taking she
quietly professed her love for me. I was nearly overcome,
but held her close. I told her that she was the mate of my soul.
She knew, knew from the very first time that she had met me.
All the trappings drifted away, my abbatial trappings, my monastic
trappings, my priestly trappings no longer meant anything in
the light of our profession to one another. I told her that I loved
her dearly and wanted her to stay with me. I didn't want her to
die. But we could not forestall Death.
Holding her, I gently kissed her on the lips. And with this kiss,
I had taken her breath away! My precious Lady Helen died in
After her funeral, her burial, I could hardly function. Once again
in my life, I felt myself a "lost" soul. Life became aimless, and I
only carried out my duties in a perfunctory way. I had almost
become an automaton. It was like a part of me was no longer
there, like somehow my soul was nowhere. Sometimes I was
able to observe this strange condition of mine, and it seemed
really odd. I felt that I no longer really belonged on this Earth.
In time my Lady Helen returned in my dreams. It seemed as if
there was concern for me. She was supporting me, helping me
through my trouble. I let these dreams soothe me. Slowly these
healing dreams brought me back to life. And, once again, I
took on the mantle as the Abbot of Tewkesbury!