Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation. -Kahlil Gibran
Love is a wonderful thing. It's also a painful thing - especially when we lose those we love. The degree to which we suffer from those losses is in direct proportion to the degree in which we loved.
Love will always be a two edged sword. It can make our lives beautiful and leave us desolate. For many, the fear of heartbreak keeps them from investing themselves too deeply. They assume they can protect themselves that way. The irony is by not investing deeply we hurt daily from what we miss of the richness of loving completely.
I've done it both ways. I've walled up to protect myself. It was lonely and cold behind the wall. I've given my heart completely and had it trampled on. As painful as that was I didn't have the same regrets of wondering what might have happened if only...
Loss can come in so many ways and today I write from the loss of love to death. Death is a subject we don't like to think about where loving is concerned - so we seldom do until it's thrust upon us. We know it's lurking out there somewhere but we think of it as possibility instead of the eventuality that it is. To dwell on it is silly and would rob us of daily joy as all fear does, so I guess it's best this way.
In the past week I've experienced the loss of love to death twice and in very different ways. The first was a woman of 100 years who had been a dear friend to me and a wonderful grandmother to my children. She lived a full life. She loved deeply and influenced many through that love. While it's easy to say "She lived a good life, and was ready to go" and to be happy for her, it still leaves a hole in the hearts of those who will miss her presence, her smiles, and her good nature - so it still hurts none the less.
You can love someone so much...but you can never love people as much as you can miss them. - John Green
The other loss was of a cousin. She lived just 67 years and leaves behind 3 grown children who she'd been the only real parent for. She'd been their rock - their go to person throughout their lives and they were anything but finished needing her for that. She has a young granddaughter who she was close with who's still asking to go and see her. She doesn't understand her grandma's sudden absence and trying to explain it makes it even harder for her son who is himself trying to grasp that reality.
I don't believe there really is a "good" time for those we love to be taken from us but it seems there are times that feel better than others. At 100 years, we feel we've had a lot of time to make memories, share, explore and enjoy our time with a loved one. Though painful we don't feel quite so cheated when we have to let them go.
Those who leave us with so much left unexplored and shared leave us feeling robbed of what still might have been. My cousin's youngest grandchild will only know her through stories that she'll hear from those who were old enough to remember. Her three year old granddaughter might well forget how she anticipated seeing her and spending time with her, and the thought of those things weighs heavily on the hearts of those of us who are saying goodbye to her later today and tomorrow.
So what of love then? What's it all about when it can end so abruptly and leave us so exposed and raw? Is it worth it? I guess that's a question that we all will need to answer for ourselves - many times over the course of our lives. For me the answer is a resounding YES.
I vote for love. I vote for loving deeply and giving it everything we have. Yes, that does mean we will grieve more deeply at the end - however that end comes - but I'd rather be cut to the core than scratched because I can rest knowing I left nothing on the table - I've felt it all. Isn't that what we're here for? To feel it all?