April 22, 2015

On Loving and Loss



 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?

11 comments:

  1. I vote for love, too. So sorry for your losses Anita. My already broken heart still has room to share your sorrow.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My sympathies are with you, Anita. You're right—we're never ready to let loved ones go. Thank heavens for writing, where we can express all the feelings we have. :O)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Colleen. Writing let sort things out and have a good cry. We never are ready.

      Delete
  3. When people talk of how someone elderly had lived a full life as if the loss was somehow less when they died, I remember Stephen Colbert's tribute to his 92 year old mother. In the video, the part I'm thinking is toward the end, at about 2:20, and begins "and though it may seem greedy..." http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/yxgnju/remembering-lorna-colbert. Of course it's not greedy. All loss is loss. And even if we don't want those we love to suffer, we don't want that door to their living selves to be shut either. Again, my condolences.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing Paula. I'd never seen this tribute - and you're right, we don't want those doors shut and all loss is loss. It's the other side of loving and living and we have to accept it all as a package deal. It's just harder to swallow the bitter pill.

      Delete
  4. I'm so sorry for your losses, Anita. Thank you for sharing this soulful, inspiring post. Your insight always has so much meaning to me. I vote for love too. I've had a lot of loss in my life, but I so deeply appreciate what those loves gave me while they were here and the love they left behind. I'll take the grief of loss any day over the cold, lonely wall.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jackie. Love and loss are a package deal. We are enriched by love and made resilient by loss so in all ways we grow - better or bitter. We each must make that choice. It seems you too choose better. :)

      Delete
  5. Your post captured your emotions of love and sorrow beautifully - a tribute to both ladies who passed away. I'm so sorry for your losses Anita. I too vote for love. By opening our hearts, we also welcome the love of others to help us and support us and share in our sorrows.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right Kate! Opening our hearts to the help that's around us is so important. It's so easy to feel alone or isolated with our pain. Feelings of loss are so universally human and allowing others to share our burdens is as good for them as it is for us. It's how we learn compassion. It's not always easy but definitely worth every effort to let others in.
      Thank you so much for your condolences and taking time to visit and share your feelings. I really appreciate it.

      Delete
    2. Can you tell how deeply your comment touched me? I used the word SO four times in as many sentences. :)

      Delete