And did you get what you want?

by Judith F Kennedy, PhD

We all long for it. You want to be close. You love him. You really want this relationship to work. You want to be known and to matter to him and finally find a refuge, a safe place in this world. Even when its hard and even sometimes hopeless, we want that feeling of refuge, of being beloved. Reminds me of the famous quote by Raymond Carver lately reprised in Birdman.


And did you get what

you wanted from this life, even so?

I did.

And what did you want?

To call myself beloved, to feel myself

beloved on the earth.” 

My mother worried a lot. She sometimes even worried about worrying. You may know someone like that in your life. My father left my mother when I was about 14 but no matter he was still her one true love. Even though she remarried, most of us knew that he was her one true love. He wasn’t really a good man and probably she wasn’t his one true love but nevertheless, it was very, very real for her. She couldn’t admit it to anyone, carried it in her heart for 53 years.

At 92, when my mother was dying, she had a vivid dream. She didn’t tell it to me. We were not close. She told it to my cousin whom she loved dearly. She dreamed about my father. They were on a moving train headed somewhere together. In the dream she sees him standing near the back of the train car. She got up. Went to him. He took her hand and as they stood together facing forward, she let out a long exhale. She knew everything was fine. Finally fine.  Even after deception and betrayal and all those years. Just the fact of her love, her beloved, it was the one thing that meant more than anything, to know that she was beloved, to call herself beloved, to feel herself beloved on the earth.