Is Love Alive? On Loss, Longing, and Life After All
I’ve had much to celebrate, and much to mourn as well. My family continues to walk with Willie through his self-injurious and aggressive behaviors. My dear friend Allison endured a grueling year of cancer treatment, went into remission … and is now experiencing troubling symptoms.
My husband had a blood clot that went undetected for weeks and could have been fatal. My dear friend and surrogate grandpa Gene passed away. (And then there was that Thanksgiving roadtrip …)
And then, last month, our apartment building caught fire … in the recycling area, which is the room right next to ours. Though the damage was minimal, the smoke-y smell and sense of what-might-have-happened have hung in the air ever since.
This year has had its share of Not-so-great-Friday moments — the times that stop ours heart and make us think that they might never beat normally again. Times of blank terror, of violence without and within. The stories we don’t want to tell.
This is my winter song to you / The storm is coming soon / It rolls in from the sea*
We will never forget those terrifying times, yet, for the most part, they don’t represent our everyday lives. Ordinarily, we exist in ‘in-between time’, the time after the crisis, but before the resolution. We spend most of our time in ‘Saturday’; that is, the period between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
In this time, we’re reeling from what’s happened, and we can hardly dare to hope for healing. We’re not sure when — or if — the tide of our trial might turn. We envision an endless future of things-exactly-as-they-are. And when our longing for change becomes too painful, we let it go, and despair sets in.
We feel abandoned and afraid … and guilty, because surely if we’d just done things differently, it wouldn’t have turned out this way.
They say that things just cannot grow / beneath the winter snow / Or so I have been told
They say we’re buried far / Just like a distant star / I simply cannot hold.
Is love alive?
But the story doesn’t end there, because Sunday is around the corner from Saturday. True, it may take years for our circumstances to turn that corner, but still, it’s there, on the horizon: a day that changes everything. A day when impossible miracles happen, when the healing we’d hoped for rushes in. A day in which we realize that, in fact, we were never abandoned or alone, not for one second.
In fact, a faithful AWCC reader just sent me this (without knowing the subject of this post): “Let Easter and accompanying Spring be the source of a new energy for you …. I understand that you’ve been through some difficult times recently. But as the stormy weather passes over, I wish you a lot of sunny, beautiful days ahead.”
I still believe in summer days / The seasons always change / And life will find a way.
I’ll be your harvester of light / And send it out tonight / So we can start again.
Yes, we suffer loss in this life. My wise friend Cassandra** once summed up life’s trials like this: “When people I love die, and when I can’t do things right.”
We make mistakes, and we lose people we can’t live without. We wake up on the Monday after Easter Sunday and wonder if anything at all has changed.
But every so often we hear a whisper of truth: that our mistakes don’t define us, that our loved ones are alive in our hearts. And on Easter, we see that maybe our hearts are on to something.
That maybe love is Life after all.
What carries you through your toughest times? Tell me in the comments!
If this post spoke to you, please share it with those you love.
- In honor of Autism Awareness month, I have a new guest post up at Autism Key: Changing the World, One Set of Keys at a Time.
- Also, April 10th is National Siblings Day! Don’t forget to celebrate the siblings in your life.
Liked this post? Click here to receive new posts via email, along with Your Creed of Care: How To Dig For Treasure In People (Without Getting Buried Alive).
*Lyrics to “Winter Song” by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson.
**Names have been changed.
About Caroline McGraw
I'm a would-be childhood paleontologist turned full-time writer, digging for treasure in people and uncovering sacred stories in ordinary days. I grew up in New Jersey (think peaceful suburb, not Newark), graduated from Vassar with honors, then served as a live-in caregiver and program director at L'Arche Washington DC. Nowadays, my husband renovates our historic 1901 home in northwestern Alabama, while I try (& fail) to keep our cat Bootsie from developing an epic tuna fish addiction. It's a beautiful life. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.