Today my journal writing took an unexpected turn. Often I tend to dwell on the same issues, ad infinitum, but today I found myself focused, much to my surprise, on the boyfriend with whom I had been involved during my mother's illness.
M had referred to himself, sarcastically, as my "knight in shining armor". He deeply resented the many helpless women who seem to be looking for that magic man to save their lives. His past was littered with such women, and he hoped I wouldn't turn out to be yet another example.
Actually, I had always perceived my mother as my source of security. It's no wonder- she had resolved many of my problems for me, from financial to social to physical. For example, there was a man stalking me when I was a college student. After I told her about it over the phone, she appeared at my door several hours later, having traveled two hundred miles to tell this stalker a thing or two. Same thing happened when I told her I had been diagnosed with anemia. She showed up at my dorm room hours later wielding a side of beef.
Now I see that, facing the impending loss of my source of security (she had pancreatic cancer), I did unconsciously hope to transfer the title to M. After I flew back to my hometown for her funeral, M apparently decided to don his suit of armor. He showed up at my mother's funeral unexpectedly, having flown halfway across the country to be at my side.
Afterwards, he presented me with a bill for his air fare. (After all, it was my mother who had died, and he had flown there for my benefit, even though I had not asked him to come.) I never realized that the damsels had to pay their knights!
He had been planning to quit his engineering job to move to Montana, in a heroic effort to "follow his heart." He did pack up his belongings and head out west a few months after the funeral. I was heartbroken, but not for long. He called when he got there, with a proposal. If I'd give him money, I could go to Montana and stay with him for a few months. (It seems he didn't have enough money to make it there after all.) I sent the money, took a leave of absence from work, and headed out West.
That was only the beginning. The job he eventually found didn't pay very well, and I used my savings to pay his bills during my prolonged visit.
M and I remain long distance friends. He almost died in a motorcycle crash recently, and I'm glad he didn't. His deep spiritual and philosophical ideas are forever welcome in my life. However, today's journal writing exposed the truth: by financially enabling M to live out his dream, I had been his knight in shining armor.