My beloved Chris Boeve, left his body on April 5, 2012, almost twelve years ago, but in honor of his birthday, February 9, 1944, I offer this excerpt from my book, Life of Kai, a memoir of awakening.

“The wedding day arrived on Saturday, September 28, 1996. The ceremony took place in Yale University’s Battell Chapel, a grand architectural structure expressing the Victorian revival of medieval and Gothic styles. High, richly colored stained glass windows created a soft light in the large sanctuary seating 850 people.

The chancel behind two facing choir lofts held a sizable open area where Chris placed sixty of the pottery cups and phallic wooden turnings he had created. He called his ritual works of art earth grails and dedicated them to Mother Earth. Another of Chris’s artistic offerings was a leaded glass mirror supporting a wooden butterfly that appeared to be in flight. Set flat on a table in front of the earth grails, the mirror, symbolizing our willingness to look inside of ourselves and each other, served as our altar. The butterfly was a sign of rebirth and transformation.

In that glorious space, 230 beloveds from Chris’s life, my life, and our shared life at Shalom Mountain gathered to celebrate our marriage. Our officiants were the pastor of Battell, a black man, and the assistant pastor, a white woman, who together represented the diversity we desired in our lives.

As organ music rang out in the church’s vestibule, I stood alone, dressed in my long white gown with the bustle and endless buttons up and down my sleeves and back. The veil covering my face softly blurred my view and hid myriad feelings welling up in me.

I had the requisite something old, something new, something borrowed, and som ething blue—the new, a silver bracelet; the borrowed, a lovely pearl necklace from my friend Deborah; and the blue, a garter pinned under my dress. The old token was my mother’s wedding ring pinned into the folds of my gown. I had missed her presence at other pivotal events in my life, but she had been gone thirty-five years, and I hardly remembered her. Still, I felt that a mother should be at a daughter’s wedding, and I felt my longing for her at that life-changing moment.

As I awaited the resonant chords of the bridal march, I heard out of nowhere, a ringing voice in my ears. I didn’t know the source of the voice, but its words penetrated my heart. I saw Chris standing at the altar, his eyes scanning the church to take in the 230 beloveds gathered to celebrate our union, but the voice pulled my attention away from Chris into the depths of my heart.

“You know,” the voice said as a pregnant pause fell and I strained to listen. “You know, you will be separated.”

I felt the words like a punch in my belly. I took a breath and swallowed hard. More to myself than to the voice, I answered, “Yes, I know we will be separated. I know that is true, yet I will say yes, yes to Chris, with all my heart.”

Tears filled my eyes as I began my procession down the aisle to the altar to join with my beloved.”

Knowing our life together would not last forever I made our time sweet and sacred. I have never regretted the commitment that came with the knowledge of the fragility of life, yet in living the yes, I learned the power of love over death.