All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish…
…the light of a single candle. ~St. Francis
Over the past few weeks, I’ve learned a lot of things. I’ve learned that I will let a stranger hug me if I’m upset enough. I know what it’s like to literally watch someone take their last breath. I know that life is hard, change is inevitable, and love is always the answer.
Since my mother passed away, people have done one of two things: reached out or said nothing. Now, depending on the relationship, this is normal. Some family members who I considered close have done or said nothing. Even something as simple as a facebook message. That is strange, because it takes two seconds to write a single sentence. That polite absence isn’t something to forget.
On the other hand, friends who I haven’t really spoken to in years have reached out. Cards have been received. And I’ve realized that I am lucky. Despite the few people who have (quite deliberately) remained silent, there are a wealth of folks who are wonderful.
It is a good feeling that, despite the horrible situation, someone calls at 6:30 am, because he/she heard and needed to call. It is a good feeling to have the solidity of such sweetness. It is a small light amid the darkness, gathering with the other small lights of words and gestures. I am lucky to be loved. I am lucky to love. And I am going to remember that, when the days get rough.
My best friend is a wonderful person. She didn’t leave my side for about a week. Then she distracted me with an old fashioned sleepover. My absolutely fantastic friend Liz and her fabulous sister Catie drove 7 hours both ways to attend my mother’s viewing. THAT’S FOURTEEN HOURS, people. That’s love, folks. Pure and simple.
When the dust settles, and things are less sad, the love is still there. I am reminded how that is all that really matters. T.S. Elliot once wrote about measuring out life in spoonfulls of coffee. While that is totally valid (because without the coffee, I stop doing the talking and the walking and the words putting into sentence doing – just like Lorelai Gilmore), measuring life is terms of love is much more important.
I am lucky in that department. Because love makes us strong. Love makes us brave. Love makes the dark and terrible moments a little more bearable. Love is hope, without strings. It’s a promise, without pretense. It’s everything, really. And because of all the love, I feel stronger than I otherwise would.
“To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage.” Lao Tzu
My heart is full of both strength and courage.