Monday, January 11, 2010

Love & Loss

**Note: This was obviously written before Saint Aunt's passing. Re-reading it is a comfort to me. I am glad I found peace with this loss before it even happened.

So my thoughts on love continue. I can't seem to stop thinking about it. It's almost an obsession for me. But a good obsession, one that has me feeling better than I have in years, maybe better than I have ever felt in my life. And this is good because it's helping come to terms with the possibility of losing two people who mean a lot to me.

The first of course is Saint Aunt. Everyday of her life, for the rest of her life, her life will hang in the balance. Every time I see her, when I leave her, I tell her I love her. I do this because I do love her and because I think we should tell people we love them more often. But I also tell this because I have accepted that each time I see her can be the last. And if she goes before I see her again, I want the last thing she remembers of me to be my love for her.

I know that when Saint Aunt does pass, I will miss her. In some ways I miss her already...she is not completely who she once was, and I miss the way she used to be. But I am grateful, beyond any words, for the person she is right now. For the time I have with her. I cherish every moment I have with her and I will miss these moments most when she is gone.

But I am comforted in knowing that when she dies I will not lose her completely. The circle of love that exists between us will never die. I will always carry my love for her and I will always feel her love for me, even when she isn't here to express it.

Sometimes we lose's inevitable...but love is never lost.

That is another realization I've had recently. Love doesn't go anywhere. I started thinking about all the people I've loved in my life and I examined how I feel about them now. I was shocked to discover that I love each and every one of them just as much now as I did the moment I discovered I loved them. Not one exception. How astounding!!

I am just floored to know that time, distance and circumstances do nothing to love. Love endures. It is endless. And somehow knowing that I will always have my love for people, makes it easier to let them go, if that is what must someday happen, like with Saint Aunt, of even if that is what someone chooses to have happen - like with the other person I have been concerned about losing.

I did something recently that hurt a friend. I didn't want to hurt her. In fact, the knowledge that she could be hurt by my actions almost stopped me from doing what I did even though I knew that it was something I desperately needed to do for myself. It is the first time I can remember that I have ever consciously chosen to put myself and my needs before the needs of someone else. It was difficult for me to do, but in most ways I cannot regret what I did because I know that I not only needed to do it - more importantly, I needed to put myself first for a change. I needed the experience of being completely and utterly selfish.

I am sad, I am horrified in fact, that my selfishness resulted in someone else being hurt, particularly someone whom I love and care about. And yet, I am astounded, surprised, a little awed by the fact that I could love myself enough to allow myself to do something I needed to do.

Me. I love myself. I care for myself. I can put my needs first. Me!

I spent years of my life actively hating myself and even more years feeling a general apathy for me. It was easy to put everyone else first because I really didn't think there was anything I deserved. I could do without because what difference did it make if I had?

Suddenly it did make a difference if I had what I wanted. Suddenly I discovered that if I didn't start doing something for me that I was in danger of almost melting into nothing. And suddenly I realized that I loved myself enough to risk whatever I needed to in order to take care of myself.

But, now, my friend, is hurt. And I have been struggling with that. I have never consciously hurt a friend before. I've never put myself before a friend. I have never knowingly risked a friendship. I have always done whatever I needed to in order to keep my friends. Often I have done things that were detrimental to me in order to keep friends. Often I have sacrificed again and again and again, in ways both small and big, for the sake of friendships. So that I put a friendship out on a ledge is a little disturbing to me - even if I understand why it was something I needed to do.

My desire is to go out on that ledge and drag it back in. To grab hold of that friendship and not let go. To beg and plead, and do whatever I need to do to hold onto it. To make it all better at all cost.

But then I started thinking about love and I realized that the love that exists between my friend and I will endure all this drama. She may not get past the hurt enough to trust me and be close to me again. That hurts. It hurts to think that one act of selfishness can erase years of caring and devotion. And it just plain hurts to lose the ability to be around someone that I love the way I want to be. Loss hurts.

But it doesn't stop the love. The love is there. Love endures. And somehow, trusting in the love, knowing that the love will be there forever is one of the most empowering thoughts I've ever had.

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