Dani and Bear: Soul-Mates!
Dani and Bear: Soul-Mates

by Bear Fullerton

Dani and I met for the first time last October, just before All Souls Procession at a Halloween party. What was funny is that we had both heard about each other from many friends of ours. What’s even funnier is that when we first laid eyes upon each other from across the room, it was like we both were hit with bricks.

Later, we realized from talking to each other and recounting the moment that we felt the same thing when we first saw each other: dread, and the feeling that we should turn around and run! Both of us were definitely not looking for anything serious at that point , and yet we both felt that we were supposed to meet and if we ran we would forever regret not knowing what could have happened.  We decided not to give in to fear and see if our feelings were true.

Needless to say we hit it off, and I convinced her to go to the All Souls Procession the next night. She had been many times to All Souls but never actually marched in it, so I convinced her to dress up and go with me. After that, we quickly fell in love and spent pretty much all our time together.

It was frightening because, before meeting, we had both been in very bad relationships that nearly ended both our lives and spirits. We had also suffered some personal losses, especially Dani. The previous year saw her grandmother, who practically raised her, pass away, and soon after, her father Clark was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer and within a few months passed away as well. A few weeks ago, her mother was also diagnosed with inoperable cancer of the esophagus and might not have much time to live if treatments don’t work. My children, whom I have with an ex, were having a hard time. I’d lost ties with my father and siblings and my mother was pretty much about to live on the street. I myself had been wiped out business-wise by a theft of my truck and all my possessions and had hit rock bottom. You can say that by the time Dani and I met , we had given up on everything, be it life, love or happiness.

We are glad that we somehow had found in us a spark of some left-over spirit to rekindle a fire inside each of us. We not only found in each other an ideal couple, a couple that perfectly balances each other and makes us both so happy, but we had finally found the family we really needed and thought we’d never find. My son Brian and daughter Aysa are so happy and consider Dani a true mom and constantly tell us how happy they are that they have a caring family now. Dani has earned their love and respect. In fact, they are the ones who “forced” me to get on my knees in a Walgreens parking lot to propose to her! They knew what I had in Dani and wanted to make sure it wasn’t something to pass up. My children have always tried taking care of me. I love them so much. Kids are truly smarter than their parents sometimes. It all changed when we met and marched together, and it has been nothing but a joy since then, no matter how tough things have been.

Seeing the time of year it was and realizing that the All Souls Procession  -and I guess you could say our anniversary- was coming up, I all of a sudden asked Dani if she would like to consider All Souls to be where we got married, as it had such meaning to us. We were originally planning to wait a year and do it in NY. She just looked at me and said, “wow….that would be something!”  So we wrote to Many Mouths and were so happy when they said yes! I love to tell Dani now-a-days, “well, you did say you wanted a small wedding!”

This is a lot of ‘firsts’ for us. We’ve realized that we have never been this happy, had such a good family, been married or truly lived until now. It is strange, her being a hometown Tucson girl, and me, a person who grew up overseas as a military brat traveling the whole world for more than 20 years, coming full circle and meeting at the All Souls Procession. Like a Celtic knot, there is no end or beginning but many ways to come back about. We also both come from a deep Celtic ancestry and go to All Souls to honor our Scottish ancestors. We were almost always found by the bagpipers, such as the Seven Pipers Society that regularly attend All Souls.

We see the All Souls Procession as not only a place to honor the dead and to remember them, but also to honor and remember life and those in it. We feel as though the lives that we once had are over, and whether it was good or bad or somewhere in between, we honor it by being in the All Souls Procession. We bury our dead, our pain and our past; and like a phoenix, we are being reborn. Starting a new life you can say at the All Souls Procession…. And we have all that we hold dear there with us, even the 15,000 strangers who show up for it. Strangers who, all of a sudden, are family and friends who can share with us the sense of one spirit and a new life among our dead and prayers for one night. Hope to see you all there.

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