Shortly after discovering I had cancer, a woman I loved more than any other woman unexpectedly journeyed to the Spirit World. She passed before I could apologize for all the pain and hurt I caused her when we were together. This woman I loved above all others was the one if you know what I mean.


Her name was Cleo Young, and we had a son named Erich Longie. Erich Jr. was the only child whom I did not help raise. I met Cleo during the height of my drinking and raising hell years. As a result, I treated her horribly, yet she stuck by me for several years. When times were good and we were together, I was happy like no other time in my life. I believe we were indeed soul mates. But my alcoholic ways ruined it for us. She left me due to my constant lying, cheating, and bad behavior, and we broke up.


Years later, I attempted to woo her again after I sobered up. But the hurt was too deep, and her memories of my dysfunctional behavior were still fresh. She eventually married an ndn man from Canada who was good to her. And, I had been married --- and divorced --- twice.


One morning about three years ago, my daughter and I went to the Casino to eat breakfast. One of my ex-wives worked there. After we left the Casino, my daughter said, Leona (my ex-wife) told me to tell you Cleo died a few days ago. 


I was shocked. Is Cleo dead? How can that be? She was a few years younger than me, and I hadn't heard about her being terminally ill. After my initial surprise, I immediately felt enormous regret because I always hoped to apologize to Cleo for the shitty ways I treated her and to tell her I had always loved her and always will. With her gone to the Spirit World, I would never get that chance, and this realization filled me with immense regret. 


I went to Cleo's wake. After I left her wake, on my drive home, my memories of how awful I treated her filled me with remorse. This remorse prompted me to turn to Wakan Tanka for understanding. I asked Wakan Tanka to allow Cleo to hear my words. I then apologized to Cleo for all the wrongs I had done, for the pain I caused, and told her I had always loved her and always will. I concluded my prayer by asking her for forgiveness.


Several months later, Cleo came to me in a dream. In my dream, I entered a room/building, and she was sitting at a long table. I turned around, left the building, and I woke up. I went over to her, I knew I had done something wrong and tried to talk to her, but she was angry and would not speak to me (like old times, I thought when I woke up).


I went back to sleep and had the same dream and woke up!


I went back to sleep and had the same dream for the third time!


However, I didn't wake up in the third dream when I left the building. Instead, I turned and walked up the street, turned, and started walking across the street. When I got to the middle of the street, I turned to look at the car waiting for me to go by, and Cleo was in the driver's seat smiling at me. As dreams go, I can lean down on the windshield and try to kiss her. She smiled at me, which gave me the courage to go to the driver's side, where she rolled down the window, looked up at me, and smiled. I leaned down and kissed her. As I drew back, she kept smiling, and a feeling of euphoria engulfed me - a sense of profound happiness that I had never felt before - and I woke up. That wonderful euphoric feeling lingered for a few seconds after I woke up. As it began to fade, I instinctively knew I would never feel that euphoria again, at least not in this world.


And I knew she forgave me.


I had seen Cleo several months before she died in her hometown of Tokio. We were doing a Fighting Sioux presentation in Tokio when I noticed her in the audience. When the time came to pass out the literature, I walked over to her and handed her several papers. I explained the documents to her; she nodded and said, "okay."


I was surprised she was alone, for her and her husband were usually together. I was also surprised that he did not show up at her funeral. When I asked our son about it, he said he was in Canada and couldn't cross the border.


Several months later, Erich Jr. came to visit me, and during the conversation, he mentioned her husband had been in Canada for the past five years.


I was shocked! Was Cleo alone for five years? If I had only known! I would have told her I was sorry for all the wrongs I did to her and that I always love her and always will. I was sick with regret when I realized I had missed an opportunity to see and talk to her one last time.


In response to my questions, my son said he had gone home to visit and could never make it back due to being unable to cross the border. I had a strong hunch he was not telling me everything.


Looking back on my life, I am finally honest about how I felt toward Cleo. I now acknowledge my eternal love for her was probably the primary reason I stayed single all these years after my second divorce. Although I knew it was unrealistic, I had always harbored a secret hope that Cleo and I would eventually reunite.


I realized too late that I truly loved only one woman. No, that is not true either. I had always known that I truly loved only one woman, but due to circumstances caused by my character weaknesses, I could not, or would not, do anything about it. Regrettably, it took her unexpected journey to the Spirit World for me to finally admit to myself how I had wished I had done whatever it would have taken to spend my life with her.


In closing, as much as I loved her, I know she loved me more. Unfortunately, her death finally helped me comprehend how much I hurt her and how her undying love for this worthless Indian boy ruined her chance for real happiness. But what can I do? What has passed has passed. Still, now and then, I sadly think about her and how things could have been. With Cleo's unexpected journey to the Spirit World, with a good chance that cancer will shorten my lifespan, and at my age, I am content to go to the Spirit World as a single man.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dr. Erich Longie published on March 11, 2020 5:34 PM.

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