On Love…

A week ago today, my nephews tragically lost their only other Auntie in a terrible accident.  She was killed while participating in the most innocuous of activities – she was simply walking home from work and was struck by a car.  The family is devastated.  Last night I attended the funeral at a local Catholic church.  The priest read us all a lecture on getting right with God because you never know when the end is coming.  There is so much that wasn’t said; so many things that I want the boys to know about how the world works – specifically the component of love, that I’ve decided to write this.

Here’s what I wish the kids had been told:

Love is the realest thing there is.  It is bigger than houses, or mountains, or sky, or space.  It is larger than life or death.  Love is what gives the world its colors, and its absence is what gives us the shadows that allow us to see where things really are.  Love is like light, it is something that is more than it is, and more than we can possibly perceive – lost as we are in the shade and the glow of it. It is both inside and outside time and place and circumstance.    Without love, there is only its absence.  The gray world would numb us to the point of incredible and inexpressible despair.  Without love, there would be no music, there would be no paintings, there would be no poetry, there would be no hope.  We only think we lose love when someone dies or leaves, but what we really lose is the opportunity to create more memories.  And that hurts desperately.  The love, the actual fact of love and loving, is still there – inside us and inside the world.  The love is still  just as it was.  It doesn’t change; it is immutable.  It doesn’t disappear — one of its great components is permanence.  It doesn’t fade.  All those who love will understand loss — that’s why to truly love requires great courage — but the joy of having loved and of having been loved will eventually outweigh any pain.  Love accepts you as you are, and gives you the strength to accept yourself.  Love is the ultimate validation – that’s why it’s such an amazing gift.  You will always have that love.  You ARE that love, and the more you love (with bravery and audacity) the more you can BE.  Nothing else matters.  Love trumps all hands.

Here are some words from some people who said it way better than I can:

“Amor constante más allá de la muerte”

Cerrar podrá mis ojos la postrera
Sombra que me llevare el blanco día,
Y podrá desatar esta alma mía
Hora a su afán ansioso lisonjera;

Mas no, de esotra parte, en la ribera,
Dejará la memoria, en donde ardía:
Nadar sabe mi llama el agua fría,
Y perder el respeto a ley severa.

Alma a quien todo un dios prisión ha sido,
Venas que humor a tanto fuego han dado,
Medulas que han gloriosamente ardido:

Su cuerpo dejará no su cuidado;
Serán ceniza, mas tendrá sentido;
Polvo serán, mas polvo enamorado.

FRANCISCO DE QUEVEDO (1580-1645

Translation:

The final shadow may close my eyes,
carry me off from white of day,
unchaining my soul at the hour
of its anxious desire:

but it will not leave the memory
of that other shore where once it burned:
for my fire can swim me through the frigid water,
regardless of the strictures of law.

A soul which once imprisoned an entire God,
veins that brought fuel to such flames,
marrow that so gloriously burned:

they’ll leave this body, but not its cares:
ash they’ll be, yet still aware;
they will be dust, but dust in love.

From Canto LXXXI

What thou lovest well remains,

The rest is dross

What thou lov’st well shall not be reft from thee

What thou lov’st well is thy true heritage.

~Ezra Pound

Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago,

   In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden there lived whom you may know

   By the name of Annabel Lee;

And this maiden she lived with no other thought

   Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,

   In this kingdom by the sea,

But we loved with a love that was more than love—

   I and my Annabel Lee—

With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven

   Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,

   In this kingdom by the sea,

A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling

   My beautiful Annabel Lee;

So that her highborn kinsmen came

   And bore her away from me,

To shut her up in a sepulchre

   In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,

   Went envying her and me—

Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,

   In this kingdom by the sea)

That the wind came out of the cloud by night,

   Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love

   Of those who were older than we—

   Of many far wiser than we—

And neither the angels in Heaven above

   Nor the demons down under the sea

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams

   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes

   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side

   Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,

   In her sepulchre there by the sea—

   In her tomb by the sounding sea.

~Edgar Allan Poe

 

love is the every only god

who  spoke  this  earth  so  glad  and  big

even  a  thing  all  small  and  sad

man,may  his  mighty  fortress  dig

for  love  beginning  means  return

seas  who  could  sing  so  deep  and  strong

one  queerying  wave  will  whitely  yearn

from  each  last  shore  and  home  come  young

 

so  truly  perfectly  the  skies

by  merciful  love  whispered  were,

completes  its  brightness  with  your  eyes

 

any  illimitable  star

 

~ e.e. cummings

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8 Responses to On Love…

  1. Kim says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. For the terrible loss of your nephews.

    What you wrote is beautiful, and so very important. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. Tell your boys that tomorrow. Don’t let them wait for another tragedy. It is like the parent that waits until they die to leave their inheritance to their child. Give it to them every day of their life.

  3. OLIC says:

    I’m so very sorry to hear this. Such a great loss to your family.

    I can tell by how you talk about them that your nephews are very much loved and know it, even if they don’t quite have a mature grasp of the language for it yet. Love is a verb after all, and your family seems to be doing it right. But the words are important too. Everyone likes to know for sure.

  4. That will preach! Which, of course, Paul did:
    If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

  5. Nobody says:

    Powerful piece of writing. Thank you. I thought of this when I read your piece. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ooqsxtdGS0

  6. Hi – I searched and found it. Thanks for the post. George McLen

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