Home > giving thanks where it's due, I will hug you > All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish…

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.

  1. August 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Beautiful and sad. Keep going, honey.

  2. August 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Beautifully said.

  3. August 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm

  4. Jessica
    August 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    I am glad that you have a solid support system around you. You are a wonderful person and deserve all the love of those who care for you.

    • August 20, 2012 at 8:57 am

      Jessica, you are part of that support system, lovey. Thank you. ❤

  5. August 19, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. 😦

    After my daughter died, I learned the same as you, that silence is by far the worst response to tragedy. People just don’t know what to say. Well, darn it, say something.

    • August 20, 2012 at 8:57 am

      I, in turn, am sorry for your loss. And I agree: not knowing what to say isn’t a worthy reason. Say something. ANYTHING. It’s better than silence.

  6. August 19, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    I’m still reeling about old friends that I’ve known since I was potty-trained who SAID NOTHING after my mom’s death. People all react differently to someone’s death and I get that. At least, I try to. But to pretend it never happened? Having a hard time forgiving this. So, I am not thinking about them. (Or trying not to.) Instead, I’m focusing on the people who clearly do love me. That’s giving me strength and courage. xoxoxo

    • August 20, 2012 at 8:59 am

      I don’t think I *can* forgive that kind of thing. It seems like such an inhuman thing, to ignore it like it didn’t happen. A simple “thinking of you” makes all the difference. But yes, not thinking about those folks is the wiser course of action. Thank you, Patty — for being there and for understanding. It means the world to me. xoxoxo back at ya.

  7. August 19, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    So glad you have such great people in your life to support you thru this terribly sad time.

    And the Prufrock reference? Love it.

    • August 20, 2012 at 8:59 am

      Kristina, thank you. And Prufrock? Always awesome. I’m a lit geek, even under these circumstances. 🙂

  8. August 20, 2012 at 11:13 am

    It’s a testament to you, Ali, that you have such a wide network of people who love and support you. I think it’s fantastic that Kim and Liz and many others were able to be there for you when you needed them to be. Please know that I, too, am among them if you need me. Also, measuring life in love makes me want to bust out my Rent soundtrack. *runs to open iTunes*

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