Strength Training

I took a heavenly ride through our silence,

I knew the waiting had begun,

And headed straight into the shining sun.

Coming Back to Life – Pink Floyd

I met my man, Will, back in January this year when I was working at the brazing plant as a janitor. Our first date was on Valentine’s Day. I remember giving him the Strength card from an old Rider deck I had at home (I was too poor to spend money on a store-bought card at the time.) He framed it and put it on his dresser in his bedroom a couple of days later. 

Will is nearly twenty years my senior; he is my old man. And I love him. He is kinder to me than any partner I’ve ever had. 

Leos Are Not (Usually) My Strength

Truth is, I never thought I would be with another Leo again after my ex-husband, Francois – whose 39th birthday is today – abandoned me and my child back in April 2019. At that time, I believed Leos were too proud, too stubborn, and much too arrogant to make a compatible mate for a stubborn person like myself. Francois left because I had been drinking and couldn’t handle me at my worst. There is more to the story, but that was pretty much the catalyst for the demise of our six-week marriage. 

I’m not sad about that relationship ending because it was straight-up toxic. We were not right for one another, but both tried to force something to work that simply could not. A year and a half of fighting ultimately culminated in a marriage just because he needed car insurance. He was in the United States illegally at the time and could not get it without my help, or so he claimed. 

My memorial garden 2021

My argument was that I would and could not be responsible for his finances unless he was willing to marry me. It was an extremely stupid decision on my part, and his as well. He ended up going back to Belgium last year at some point during the beginning of COVID. The last I heard, he was confused about why I kept his last name after our divorce. 

I explained to him that once a woman marries a man in the United States, it is her right to decide whether she wants to return to her old name or keep the one she has. He said it was sociopathic for me to want to keep it. I said no, it’s an inconvenience for me to change all my information back to the old name – it’s simply easier for me to stay as Defresne.

He and I haven’t had contact since last December when I told him in not-such-nice terms to leave us alone. I don’t want email updates, phone calls, or greeting cards. My kid was not yours and you don’t deserve to have a relationship with her after walking away from us. Period. 

Here we are, two years after the finalization of the divorce and I still think of him. Not in a fond way, but rather as a lesson. I knew he was not right for me. He was a narcissist and would take advantage of me. Why would I marry him?

There are a number of reasons why people choose to stay with partners they know are bad for them. For me, it was a matter of desiring a partner to be a substitute father to my child since her dad is not in the picture. I wanted so badly to believe he was the man who could fill that role that I projected my belief of who he was onto him, rather than seeing who he truly was. (Also, I was much heavier back then, so my self-esteem was not incredibly high. )

The most significant problem of all was that I was not completely healed from the suicide of my youngest brother when Francois and I first crossed paths in December 2017. 

Sketch of a lion by my brother, Nick

It hadn’t even been two years since he’d passed away when he and I met. In all honesty, I don’t know that I am healed from that loss to this day. That’s why I am walking in October in AFSP’s Out of the Darkness Walk in Ferndale, Michigan.

In remembrance of Nick, my little brother, The Leo. You are not forgotten. We love you.

Strength Card

The Leo sign is represented in Tarot as the 8th card of the Major Arcana in the Rider-Waite (Smith) deck, Strength. It can vary as to the number, depending on which deck you use; I’ve seen it as Number 11 in a handful of decks. The woman holding the jaws of the lion in the image is using her inner strength to overpower something which has the capacity to destroy her. The infinity symbol in this card (to me) represents never giving up; new challenges always present themselves once old ones are overcome.

Rider-Waite (Smith) deck and Black Moon Astrology oracle

The Strength card encapsulates the feeling of the Leo sign with the bright yellow background and orange lion – the colors of the sun, fire, and the solar plexus chakra. The woman’s garments are adorned with flowers to represent the summer season. There is beauty, warmth, and understanding in this card. There is also power, courage, and determination to overcome a challenge against all odds.

In the Black Moon Astrology oracle, each card has a secondary title to indicate the core meaning of the card. For Leo, the card reads, “Leo – I Will”. That is how I view the newest Leo in my world – my partner. As I mentioned, his name is Will, but he is also willing to put in the work. When asked two weeks ago by a drummer if my man is “groovy,” my response was not a resounding yes. 

Instead, I countered that I don’t go for peacocks anymore, but rather oxen – I want a man who will put in the work, pull his load, and a little of mine, if I am in need. Not only has he done these things, he’s gone above and beyond my wildest expectations. I never thought a relationship could be this easy. Of course, nothing is perfect.

Will is Ill

Two months ago, Will was diagnosed with cancer. I asked his permission yesterday to discuss it here, but made sure he knew I would not disclose details. I plan to honor that. 

Last week, I made the decision to leave the psychic fair and focus on his health. It is a loss for me financially, but I understand the importance of being available to him. He needs me to be strong for him because he is scared and worried about his impending treatments. 

Cancer is terrifying. My best friend lost her mother to cancer four years ago. She is still incredibly broken up about her mom’s death. I cannot imagine losing my mom, or my partner, this way. I am somewhat frightened by the idea, but I have Strength. 

Accepting “Life on Life’s Terms”

I’ve learned to detach myself from the prospect of death. If someone actually dies, then of course, there is mourning involved – otherwise, my ex-husband would be right in calling me a sociopath. Yet, the fear that someone in my life will die is no longer in my playbook of worries and anxieties. How did I manage to overcome that?

That time the drunken woo-boys in Marine City killed the sunflowers and I was the one to find the destruction (Oct 2019).

First, I worked at a cemetery so I had to learn to do this as a professional. But secondly, and more importantly – because not everyone will have the chance to work at a cemetery – I learned to recognize that the death of others is something I have zero control over. 

This is not to say that I cannot step in and say something when dangerous behavior is involved, such as suicidal threats, etc. More like, I understand that people die in car accidents every day. People are shot every day. People, like my three family members in 2019 and my former colleague in 2017, die in house fires quite frequently. It is not something I have power to control or change. I can only work with my own responses to the situations which are thrust into my experience. 

Will and Cubby, my two biggest strengths (outside of my kiddo)

So right now, and hopefully for a long time, I shall choose to have Strength. It is not in my control that Will has cancer. I can only stand by him, support him, and give him as much healing energy as possible. In this case, the “I Will” in Leo represents, “I will make it through, because this too, shall pass.”

Much love, 

Heather XO

P.S. Sunflowers, being associated with the sun, are also ruled under the sign of Leo. My family is headed out to DeBuck’s Sunflower Farm in Belleville, MI on 8/8 for the new moon to pick fresh sunflowers and lavender. Just in time, right before Virgo season sets in. Can’t wait!

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