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Who knew?  At the end of October 2013 I met a man who over time captured my heart.  After six and one half years of cancer caregiving and two and one half years of grieving, I thought that the romantic part of my life was a thing of the past. I found that it was only sleeping and that there are no age limitations on the opening of one’s heart.

Nelson would wholeheartedly approve.  After all, it was his unconditional love for me that resides in my every cell, and that will never leave me, that was available to be expressed outwardly.   That was present to be felt again inwardly.  It is a gift and to live my life fully honors his memory.

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Mr. J, who is the new gentleman in my life, is romantic, empathetic and kind, extremely funny, handsome, adventuresome, accomplished and creative.  We laugh frequently and have outrageous fun, are spontaneous or planned, and have adopted transparency as our motto.  At this age, to be ourselves is primary.  Otherwise, why bother!  Why waste an outfit on someone who doesn’t enjoy or adore it!

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Who knew?  Mr. J was diagnosed with cancer at the end of February.  A lightning bolt from the universe, triggering memories and trauma.  Disbelief reigned initially as life turned on that dime once again, but then it can go either way.  It can move instantly to what is perceived as positive and enthralling or unpredictably in the opposite direction. Unwanted and ironic though it may be.  Once again I find that there is much about life that is not within our control.

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Style Crone has always been about outfits, but more importantly it has been about aging, transition, transformation and the mysterious unfolding of life.  As we move forward, I am defining healthy boundaries so that I maintain my center as much as possible.  To be traumatized is not helpful for anyone.  I am not the caregiver or the director of care.  He has two devoted and impressive sons who fulfill that role to perfection.  Fortunately, we both have abundant support systems, developed over many years.

I am the one who provides distraction from the vortex.  I understand the vortex, but cannot be one with it. My role is to be who I am, to express myself and interact with transparency and empathy, to take care of myself with awareness and to continue to wear my hats and compose outfits while feeling the pleasure and healing that this self-expression always brings to my life.

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I have my feelings of sadness and fear; I am not delusional, grandiose or naive.  I strive to live in the moment, but I am human, with my faults and limitations. However, I have my self-care strategies, the sanctuary that is my home and mindfulness rituals that have been practiced for years.  And I have hope.

I am aiming for the concept that my yoga teacher so beautifully described last week.  “You are the sky.  Everything else is the weather.”  It’s a little cloudy today, but we have a trip planned to travel to Paris as soon as this storm passes.  We have a lot of living to do!

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Photos by Daniel N at his home, accessorized by his amazing painting by David Foley.

I will continue to post and remain a part of this brilliant blogging community. Commenting has become sporadic as I navigate my journey and respond to the ebb and flow of life.  Though my energy may be focused elsewhere, I remain under the influence of the powerful and inspiring bloggers that I follow and love. Thank you to all who read and comment on Style Crone, one of the lifelines of my life.

All pieces worn for this post are estate sale discoveries, except the retail navy leggings and the gifted crystal pendant and Fluevog booties.

I’m stepping over to Patti’s Visible Monday HERE at Not Dead Yet Style and linking up to Bella’s Shoe Shine HERE (live on Tuesday, April 8th) at The Citizen Rosebud in my Fluevog booties.  There’s nothing like a blogger party to keep life in perspective!

 

 

54 Responses to “The Opening Of The Unbound Heart”

  1. Linda

    I love you, Judith. -Linda from Chicago

  2. Amber of Butane Anvil

    Oh Judith. Love and hugs to dearest you and Mr. J., divine in every aspect.
    xoxo

  3. Mercedes de Marchena

    Hello!
    have been following you for a while and love your blog. You were one of my inspirations when I started blogging a few months ago.

    http://www.tossandlisten.com

    This post really touched me….I am certain that you’ll weather the storm and see the rainbow on the other side. Enjoy Paris!!!

    xo,
    Mercedes

  4. Gypsiescollect

    If only “the end” destination could be made as glamourous as “Paris.” Then we’d all be packing and planning like crazy… Mortality has lots of benefits, but does not include looking forward to travel on “the other side.” Kick up those heels, put on that hat…we are all tourists here anyway. Love you.

  5. Arlene Mesner

    Thank you Judith. Your post touched my heart and am so happy that you are in Mr J’s life.

  6. Spashionista (Alicia)

    Judith, please know that even though I don’t always comment I do care very much about you! You are an exceptionally kind-hearted and empathetic woman and I wish nothing but the best for you – and Mr J as well. You know better than most how precious time spent with loved ones is and I think I speak for all of us when I say we understand if you need a hiatus. If you need anything at all please don’t hesitate to contact me at spashionista@gmail.com . I will keep you both in my thoughts

    Alicia

  7. Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

    Ah, Judith! Love can find us anytime, anywhere, isn’t it amazing? Enormous hugs to you and Mr. J., who despite his diagnosis is a very lucky man. Best of everything and lots of love – Patti

  8. Anonymous

    I can relate as I’ve been on rough seas lately too. Here’s hoping for calmer waters ahead. And enjoying life as much as we can along the way! Love those boots by the way! :)

  9. Greetje Kamminga

    I was so glad for you when I read about Mr. J. And then this dark cloud. Again. You are being tried my dear. I wish you only happiness and no pain. Hope everything turns out to be alright (if possible). I applaud your self care strategies.
    As for your outfit: outstanding!! Beautiful!
    Greetje

  10. Vortex Vicki w/Popsicle Toes

    Dear, dear Judith,
    As I read today’s post, I celebrated with you your new love, but chill clenched my heart as I read of Mr. J’s dx. I, too, was widowed–suddenly, w/o warning at the start of 2009. Hospitalized in late 2010 I read online of the death of Mr. Wonderful’s wife. We, all 4, knew each other slightly, lived in same town, till their early store sale on in 2001 and move to our state’ supper peninsula. So to words of consolation in one online sentence, I added a second one telling of Big Jim’s transition. (You see I write long sentences.)

    W traveled 300 miles for a first date after e-mails became letters became lengthy phone calls. He, a druggist, says he graduated at the top (1/3) of his pharmacy class, wasn’t entitled to be known as a pharmacist, but he nursed his bride thru 2 years of 2 cancers sans physical pain. We are all-too aware that we only have today tho we hope for 20 years…yesterdays are past, and tomorrow will be another today: a blessed realization, difficult to live out.

    Ah, Paris! What glories to enjoy! I shall send prayers along that you “tread lightly” and always keep your gamine attitude, outlook, style–so enjoyable online.
    I await hearing of your journees. Bons voyages, toujours! Vive la tourisme!!

  11. Tamera the Menopausal Supermodel

    Oh Judith……I will be keeping you and your friend in my prayers

  12. Minnesota Red

    Your posts always gift me with some insight, smile, or inspiration; this one has smiles: for your heart’s new blossoming; insight: what it is to live in the moment and inspiration: simply act with love, toward oneself as well as others (not to mention colorful presention as I go out into the world each day).

    Best to you and Mr. J and his family~
    Mary

  13. Chris

    Dear Judith,
    After reading your post, I am both joyful at your finding love again in your life, and sorrowful at the next pending challenge to endure…. Shall we sing in ecstasy or wallow in grief? A little of both, perhaps… I so love your blog, all the comments left, and the friendship I feel, when I click ‘Here’… Girlfriends are our both our sole and soul support at this time in life, and I am most grateful for all these women both in my own life and in this cyber-space; they mean the world to me. Even though we may not know each and every one of the other personally, we are blessed with this community of beauty, strength and support to meet every change and challenge we face. Thank You for sharing your heart and spirit; I want to be just like you, when I grow up…. And do have a FABULOUS time in PARIS!!!

  14. Vix

    With you at his side Mr J must be so much stronger. What a heart wrenching blow after everything you’ve had to deal with. I’m keeping everything crossed for a positive outcome and a wild time in Paris. xxxx

  15. Shybiker

    “the mysterious unfolding of life” — Yup, that captures it. Life is mysterious and when we think we understand it, we learn we don’t. Good luck on your journey.

  16. Barbara

    He’s lucky to have you with him. We are also lucky to have you with us. I can only hope that the support you receive from your blogging fans will help to support you too.
    Barbara

  17. Katie

    Such a mix of happiness then so much else besides. Feel for you. Savour every moment.

  18. Pam@over50feeling40

    I am sitting here stunned …for one moment I felt so much joy for you…only to see it go through fingers like sand. I almost remember each word of your posts about Nelson…such a powerful love story I felt worthy of a movie script. And to now see you facing another journey has me so taken with your amazing strength and resolve, Judith. You are an amazing woman who has been asked once again to give great love through difficulty. What powerful gift of love you must have for those who need it the most. We are here whenever you need us.

  19. Diana

    Right on, Style Crone ~ you keep on truckin’! And, yes, those booties were made for stylin’! Miss you.

  20. Leah

    Oh Judith!
    Love is an action verb. But you know that.

    And I very much like your blue and green.

    Sending love!

  21. Mary in Vancouver

    Dear Judith,
    I have so enjoyed your blog – admired your courage and appreciated your immense sense of style.
    My heart goes out to you and please know that I am sending loving energy your way.

  22. Sue @ A Colourful Canvas

    I’ve read and reread your post. I’ve typed, back spaced, and typed again. I can’t seem to find the right words. Maybe, in this moment, there are no right words. Please know that my lack of dialogue is dismay and shock. First joy, then sadness…I truly wish it wasn’t this way for either you or Mr J. Take good care. xo

  23. Ann

    Isn’t life just a mystery in many ways? I don’t know what to say….This must be difficult for you dear. He’s lucky to have you in his life at this time. You are beautiful.

    blue hue wonderland

  24. Susan Gosman

    You are inspirational and beautiful – thank you.

  25. Val S

    Judith, you have certainly got your head on straight and your heart in the right place. I hope your sky will always be as blue as your eyes, no matter what the weather.

  26. Margaret

    Judith you are a jewel. Your words were so brave and are still sparkling in my heart. Thank you for sharing. We are with you on your journey. When you get to Paris let me know, I’ll come from Switzerland to give you a hug x Love, Margaret xx

  27. SizzleandZoom

    I have always said life is stranger than any fiction written. Who would write a story where the beloved heroine is exposed to back to back grief of this kind.
    I am wordless otherwise. You are and have been in my thoughts and prayers. You are a beautiful woman and bring a lot of joy to many people.

  28. Jill

    My thoughts are with you and Mr J at this most difficult of times. Your grace and strength shines through, take care .

  29. Curtise

    My dear, dear Judith. What a rollercoaster of experience and emotion life can be. I am so happy for you that you found someone to share your soul with, someone who makes you laugh, makes you happy. I agree, Nelson would most definitely approve, because he loved you and would want you to be loved again. For Mr J to have a diagnosis of cancer is a huge blow. I am wishing very, very hard that all will be well. He sounds wonderful. I know that you will be offering him all the love, support and distraction that he needs, because you too are wonderful. And beautiful, outside and in.
    Yes, there is plenty of living to be done, and Paris to visit! I am keeping both of you in my thoughts. Much love. xxxx

  30. Suzanne

    It sounds as if you are very centered despite being thrown into an impossible situation again. How utterly bittersweet it must be for you.

    I hope your trip to Paris is fabulous.

    Big hugs
    Suzanne

  31. Suzanne

    Judith I have not known you long but so enjoy the little time I’ve followed you. My thoughts and prayers are with you and him and all of your loved ones. Life is so unpredictable. I’m calling the “angels” to surround you.
    Suzanne
    http://www.chapter-two.net

  32. Shelley

    I’m glad you were able to write this post and to share the joy and the sorrow that has been part of your life for the last few months. I think about you often and I am relieved to know that you are setting the boundaries you need for yourself and yet are still able to open your heart to new love. Nelson would be so proud of you.

    You are the most beautiful distraction from the vortex, and Mr. J is very lucky to have you in his life. Paris will be wonderful – drink it all in! XO

  33. Rose

    How cruel that Mr. J should be stricken with cancer! Yet, how positive and uplifting your approach and your attitude. Thank goodness he has you, along with wonderful family. I am so glad that you have had the chance to find love again. And you never know, it may be that the two of you will have many years ahead of laughter and fun.

    Thank you so much dear Judith, for just being you and being such a gorgeous, generous and altogether splendid role model!

    Much love from England, as always,
    Rose from http://www.foreveronthecatwalkoflife.blogspot.com

  34. chicatanyage

    Beautiful post. You are so right life is for living we never know what is round the corner. I too practice mindfulness and do my best to live in the moment. The blue sky is always there despite the clouds.

  35. Bella Q

    Lady, you move me. Your open and vibrant spirit, your astounding clothing collection and resounding good taste set me in the throes of awe over, and over again. I am overjoyed to find you in the arms of love, and yes…I have no doubt Nelson would highly approve. I trust your good taste. A bit ruffled at the cancer news, but you’re so right- life offers experiences and we’ve no control on the twists and turns, only on how we respond to them. Again, you inspire me, and help me flex out my own twists and turns, and remind me I can do so with grace and aplomb. I love you.

  36. Linda

    I can only echo what others have posted.

    Keep us informed and delighted as only you can. May the fortunes of love and life continue to enrich you. As Sue @ colorfulcanvas said, there may be no right words at the moment, so I offer mine as small tokens. Know that you are cherished and we care about your continuing journey.

  37. Beata

    Wow everything on here is wonderful, I especially love your green gloves! Wonderfull! Hugs, Beata xxx

  38. Melanie

    Big hugs to Mr. J on our introduction. He must be a special man to have captured your heart – we already know how special you are. I look forward to future posts on your trip to Paris, and all the ones in between. Living like mad is usually a good thing, and dressing the part too. I hope you and Mr. J celebrate being together to the max. It’s wonderful that there’s a fantastic support network around you to make this possible.

  39. Monika Faulkner

    I am so very sorry to hear this news regarding the health of your gentleman friend, dear Judith. You are right about the many things in life that are simply beyond our control…but the things that can be controlled – like maintaining a “joie de vivre” even in the face of such challenges – you seem to possess in spades. You and Mr. J. deserve every happiness available to you; and I send you both my love and best wishes.

  40. japc

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful post. You are an inspiration in every way.
    I can’t wait to hear about your experiences in Paris.
    -japc

  41. Red's Shoe Diaries

    You are the picture of grace and dignity under pressure. Your courage to share your story and your open, generous spirit will no doubt bring much strength to your love through this journey. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  42. Blythe

    Judith-
    I have been blessed to have been following your blog for the last few years. I shared your sorrow with the loss of your husband and have followed your journey as you remade a joyful life. My hope is that whatever the future holds there is joy and love within that life. Because of you I have had the opportunity to get to know so many wonderful,smart,strong, funny women ( and men) through their blogs. You and all of them have added depth and richness to my life. I feel as if I have friends throughout the entire world that have no idea how much they mean to me. I look forward every week to checking in and seeing what my online friends are up too. All of you have made me feel braver, certainly more fashionable and you make me laugh daily. Thank you and my thoughts are with you and I will keep you in my heart.

  43. Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing your heart. I really enjoy your blog, and have awarded you the sunshine and shine on awards!

  44. Sylvia @ 40PlusStyle

    It was so lovely to read about the new gentleman in your life so it came as a real shock that he too was diagnosed with cancer. As you say, it can go either way, so let’s hope for the best and live in the moment. As always, I’m in awe of your writing and the way you can express yourself and manage these situations. I’m so happy that you continue to blog despite of it all. Your weekly posts are still a highlight in the blogosphere. I also absolutely love this outfit on you!

  45. Jan Graham-McMillen

    Me too. I just love you in so many ways, Judith. I’m so happy that you have a new love but I’m sorry for the cloud. You both deserve to win this one. Go to Paris, write when you want and know you are adored by so many.
    Stay safe and take great care of yourself.

  46. Tess

    Wow Judith many hugs and love to you for sharing with us. So happy for you and amazed at what life continues to offer and challenge!

  47. kezzie

    I am so happy you found someone special and yet sad for you that he is ill. I will keep you in my prayers. Go and enjoy each other’s company and be the fabulousness that you are- Mr J cannot fail to be full of joy when he is,with you. Thank you for sharing. I’m currently feeling very blue as my Grandad passed away last night, less than an hour after I left him-I was the last one with him and tried to be vibrant, bouncy and full of energy for him. X

  48. pao

    ‘The opening of an unbound heart’ describes you perfectly, Judith. What a journey you just took me on. Like a short novel, only it’s true and it’s about you and new love, sickness and health, joy and suffering, life and death, and of course, clothes. Oh my. Thank you for being here and sharing with us all.

  49. Carol Markel

    Judith,
    You write so beautifully and eloquently about love. It’s all love.
    I am rooting for Mr. J.
    Love,
    Carol

  50. The IFs

    Oh, Judith! This is so unfair! You do indeed write beautifully on the subject of love, as everyone has already stated. We cannot be nearly as eloquent as you are, but we do wish you and Mr. J strength and courage and humor and lots of love as you go through this trial.

  51. That's Not My Age

    Oh my, life’s twist and turns – so beautifully described in this post. Wishing you & Mr J a healthy & happy future together, and a fabulous trip to Paris.

  52. Trina

    I too, just keep reading and re-reading this incredible, heartfelt post and feeling all the emotions swell inside myself. The one thing that I recognize above everything else is you amazing outward positive outlook. I mean, just to look at that genuine smile says it all. I would certainly hope that every person who is troubled or going through a difficult situation in life could be presented with an earth angel as positively radiant as you, my dear lady. You are a gift!

  53. Tish

    You are an amazing, beautiful, inspiring role model for many of us. I’m 64 and had given up on finding love, much less a wardrobe beyond sweats and a tee; but you’ve inspired me to go for it! Blessings to you and Mr. J!

  54. WA_side

    Oh Judith – this eloquent post brings all the feels.

    I hope this cloud soon passes and that the rain brings forth joyous new growth as the sun returns to warm you both.

    Cathi

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