ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching

Book Two, Chapter 313: The Spiritual Side of Life

After Ernie died, one person wrote me a letter to ask: “Are you spiritual? Do you have a spiritual life?”

I didn’t know how to answer him. I didn’t know what his question meant. Now, I’m beginning to know what the spiritual is.

Was Ernie spiritual?

Once, he called himself a saint. “I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I don’t have a sex life. I’m a saint.” He did believe in a God, but he didn’t believe in himself — or not enough — which is why he needed me.

I don’t want to be a saint. I want to be a loving and lovable person. I want to be honest, trustworthy, respectful, kind, and equal to another. No better than another. No worse than another. Equal to.

All my memories of Ernie, of our life together, fill me with sadness. Every single one of them. How to shift my thinking so that I’m grateful he found the courage to marry me, to have a child with me, to support us and still stay true to himself? This is what I’m working on.

He also cheated himself, of course. In pleasing others, so often he hurt himself. So much of me was wasted, too, dammed up by fear. I’ve learned this: Don’t let fear stop me from thinking what I need to think or feeling what I need to feel or saying what I need to say or doing what I need to do. I don’t want to be that scared, mad little girl who hid in a closet or under a bed or ran from relatives or dodged people. Who hid from herself. Who stayed spooked.

I’m learning to trust myself. To surprise myself.

Life is a surprise. Who knows what will happen next?

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Ernestina

My writer husband’s favorite nickname for me was Ernestina, so in this 2-book memoir, he is Ernie. This is his story, our story, and my story. I invite you in.