I love this amazing woman, Kristina Katayama.
Then 12 and a half years later we divorced, darn it, but not before we dove thru our Hearts deep into the Center of the Sun.
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Love blossoms between two extraordinary people, and their blended family becomes paramount.
Our Postmodern, Post-Double Divorce Blended Family rich with love, challenges, work, play, tumultuous arguments, & deep joy. L2R: Back: William & Kristina; Front: Kate, Talia, & Morgan. At the Yellow Dragonfly House, Seattle, WA, Wednesday 6 October 2004.
The years 2001 to 2012 was more than a decade full of miracles, love, loss, joy, & heartbreak. We laughed, we cried, we fought, we loved, we worked, we played, we meditated and prayed. We lived all out. That was our way. No holding back. Those amazing years were among the most remarkable and intense times of our lives.
Kristina & William celebrating her 40th Birthday about week late @ The Melting Pot, Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington. Saturday November 2008.
This Partnership was and remains an intense journey for both of us. It is as if we grabbed hands and jumped off the cliff into the seas of Deep Relationship. And for us, Deep Relationship is part of our Spiritual Practice. Our marriage is an expression of our Spiritual Practice. And so the Journey continues. I love this amazing … and challenging woman.
William Dudley Bass and Kristine Kristina Jean Katayama Barker Bass were explorers of both the Inner and the Outer Worlds. Their deepest and most demanding journeys, however, proved to be the Inner ones where there were few if any maps.
Alas, however, our partnership and marriage were not to last. We began dating in November of 2001, dove into deep relationship as a couple on Saturday the 1st of December of that same year, and began blending our families within our Community right away. Our personal arrangements were often complicated and unorthodox. We felt such experiences enriched our lives as well as those of our children.
As outdoor adventurers and spiritual explorers, we experienced life with intensity of purpose. We were exceptionally rare in our capacity to descend into the darkness of Hell to confront our dragons and inner demons without getting seduced by or lost in the darkness. We chose to ascend back up into the light, but not so close as to burn ourselves alive. Vivid healing often resulted, although not necessarily as we sometimes expected.
We pushed through our trials and tribulations with love. We tore apart yet found ways to stay connected as we returned to love. As an eclectic mix of troubadour and knight, I stood for our love and for what was possible. She returned with the courage to open fully to such possibilities despite all our wounds. Love was Power.
Kristina and I married ourselves quietly in the privacy of our home, just the two of us, in May of 2005. We lived in the Yellow Dragonfly House then. I was her second husband, and she my third wife. It seemed we had finally found the right mate, “the One,” in the other. Our partnership felt destined to last throughout the remainder of our lives. I formally proposed to her before a circle of other couples in November of 2005, gold ring, champagne, and all.
We intended to celebrate with a legal and public marriage in 2006, but it never happened. Kristina and I already felt married and were too preoccupied with three children and hectic careers. The Great Recession ended our careers, however, and we proceeded to lose just about everything from a series of disasters. Nonetheless we got legally married anyway with a wonderful outdoor Wedding on Saturday 11 July 2009. My best man, Kurt Treftz, wearing a black Utilikilt same as me, toasted us as, “deep individuals who make an amazing couple, a couple who lost almost everything, as these are hard times for a lot of people, and they still had the courage to get married in the midst of it all anyway. They got married anyway.”
She and I lost high-paying positions in 2008, then lost our investments and savings, and I felt forced to sell my share of family land in Virginia. Eventually it became clear we were defrauded of funds we had stashed away for ourselves and our children. We discovered most of our money had been embezzled from an inside-job Ponzi scam two men had set up inside the international financial aggregate we had worked for. Yes, they’re in jail in Canada, and everyone’s money they stole is missing, spent, or hidden offshore. These events triggered a descending series of monetary losses. Felt like a train of stacked dominos toppling over.
Eventually lost our home in upper Fremont just south of the Zoo, the one we called the Big Yellow Dragonfly House. We lost our other home, the River House, on the Upper Wenatchee River near the Lake of the same name outside of Leavenworth in the Central Cascades. Our two homes slid into foreclosure, and we managed after an arduous process to short-sell both of them. We had worked hard, long hours with great sacrifice to obtain such homes. These financial and material losses compounded upon themselves and resulted in great psychological stress.
Then the rental house we moved into caught on fire and burned down with most our possessions destroyed. Among items lost were precious family pieces from Japan and Virginia. Our family bounced around six times in three cities before settling down in a North Seattle neighborhood. Then Kristina’s mom moved in with us after the Big Banks foreclosed on her condo. On and on. A Thanksgiving Day water pipe flood in the kids’ rooms in 2010. A natural gas explosion that shattered the neighborhood the following September. My two oldest daughters moved in with their mother. Struggles with finding work, struggles with depression, struggles with our emotions, struggles with each other, and struggles within ourselves.
All this led to the unraveling of a marriage in which we both once dreamed of traveling the world and growing old together. Valentine’s Day 2012, however, may’ve been our last together as a couple.
Stricken with melancholia, I finally agreed to Kristina’s request to separate. On the last day of March 2012 I moved out and bounced around as we worked on ourselves. August was the high water mark of any attempt to reconcile, and by September Kristina was clear she wanted to divorce.
She needed to find herself. We had both lost ourselves in back to back marriages. I still stood for the marriage, and she did not even though she still loved and trusted me. She no longer wanted to do the work to rekindle broken romance, and for her own health and well-being felt compelled to move forward with divorce. Kristina, despite her best efforts, could and would no longer deal with me and my struggles. As human beings, we all experience failure and exceeding our limits, and she was beyond her own boundaries. And so was I in my own crazy way. Ahhh, we were so in love with the best in the other, and even so, we had beasts growling quietly in the dark shade of our shadows. I was a Taurus, she a Scorpio, and we were passionate, volatile, deep, and intoxicating lovers.
Struggling with my own issues, however, I was unable to generate and sustain the income I needed for my family. I felt embarrassed and ashamed. Health issues were aggravated. Kristina had her own inner struggles as well while working hard to build up her business as a coach, consultant, and trainer in the realm of organizational development and change. Lack of money combined with neuropsychological issues gnawed away the cords that once bound us together in love. Chronic, grinding financial distress, however, proved to be the most corrosive toxin of all.
Currently as I write these words in the haze of 2012 we are in a divorce process expecting it to be complete in Spring of 2013. As our children and stepchildren were raised together as sisters, we plan to keep them in each other’s lives.
For Kristina and me, however, it’s back to the bedrock of self-love in our own different ways. We go to stand and blossom anew. One can’t fully love another until one learns to love one’s self first. Emergencies aside, to best serve others, one must take care of one’s self first. Nor can one fully love another unless one can let truly let the other go to fly free. Our paths now diverge as they cross the fields into the woods as we move in different directions. As such we continue to grow with greater and greater love amid the grieving and the loss of a beloved to open into the raw vulnerability of liberation.
POST SCRIPT: We collaborated on an inexpensive, amicable, and uncontested divorce process. Our primary therapist hated the term “amicable” and declared our process a friendly divorce. For the most part it was as we remained friendly even if no longer intimate. I still grieved, and also emerged from depression to move forward as I began to rebuild and re-create my life. Our girls determined to remain sisters with one another, too. So many relationships to navigate beyond conventional ties of blood. Kristina’s Petition for a Dissolution of Marriage was filed on Monday 1 April 2013. The dissolution was granted and filed in court on Tuesday 5 July 2013. Our legal divorce process was now final and complete. Even at the end, however, Kristina reiterated how much she still loved and respected me. Life goes on for those of us still alive and learning not to fill holes in our soul.
William Dudley Bass
Thursday 1 January 2009
Saturday 17 March 2012
Thursday 14 February 2013
Friday 5 July 5 2013
Sunday 14 August 2016
NOTE: This was originally published as two separate, short photo-essays entitled, “I love this amazing woman, Kristina Katayama,” and “Me & my Beloved,” in my older blog, Cultivate and Harvest @ http://cultivateandharvest.blogspot.com/2009/01/i-love-this-amazing-woman-kristina.html and http://cultivateandharvest.blogspot.com/2009/01/me-my-beloved.html. They were first posted there on New Year’s Day 2009, then revised, integrated, enlarged, and re-published here on my new website as one article called, “Me & My Beloved (2001-2013),” this March of 2012. On Valentine’s Day 2013 this was updated to reflect our separation and in July 2013 the completion of our divorce. While the phrase “Me & My Beloved” is grammatically incorrect, it was kept to reflect the immediate exuberance of love. Eventually, however, the title was corrected more to express and reflect courtesy and respect for the woman who was the Author’s Beloved during those rollercoaster years. Thus “Me & My Beloved” became, “My Beloved & I.” Thank you.
Copyright © 2009, 2012, 2013, 2016 by William Dudley Bass. Copyrights include all of the fotografs published in this essay. All Rights Reserved until we Humans establish Wise Stewardship of and for our Earth and Solarian Commons.