About a week or so ago, my mom found this great quote from a much older widowed lady who was featured in a photography / interview project on a website called "Humans of New York." She saved the quote for me because she thought it sounded exactly like something that Don would have said to me, if his death wasn't sudden, and if he had the chance. It is this:
"When my husband was dying, I said to him, 'Moe, how am I supposed to go on without you?' He said to me, 'Take the love that you have for me, and spread it around.'"
For whatever reason, and for multiple reasons, this quote caused an immediate, instinctual reaction inside of me - leaving me filled with deep emotion and thought-provoking feelings. When I posted the quote on my Facebook page, almost 200 people "liked" the status update, and it received many shares and comments. I couldn't stop thinking about why this seemingly simple thought, conveyed such a powerful and loving message. All week long, these words from a total stranger stuck to my heart, the way that comfort food sticks to your ribs. It was clearly one of those things that some may refer to as a "game changer."
I found myself thinking about it Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day - during those moments of pure loneliness, as I sat in darkness and silence after the day was done or just beginning - listening to the rhythm of my own breathing, and hearing the exhaustion that comes from two and a half years of missing him - sitting inside of each exhale. As I dragged my head off my pillow, I would ask myself with 100% sincerity: "How the hell am I going to get through this day?" At first, there was no response. Just the nothingness of questions unanswered, lingering in the cold winter air. But then, suddenly, I would hear the voice of this older man, coming to me as a spirit, whispering into my ear: Take the love that you have for me, and spread it around.
And really, if Im being honest, that is what I have been doing all along. Paying it forward. Helping others. Helping myself. Trying to heal. Offering support. Accepting support. Expressing my feelings. Sharing my world and my pain and my truths. Telling everyone and anyone who will listen, about the amazing man that was my husband.
I have spent the past two and a half years doing this very thing - taking the love I have for my husband, and spreading it around. Only, I never realized that is what I was doing. I never really thought about it in that way. Until now. And now, when it is worded that way, it is just about the most beautiful thing I have ever heard.
And even more than that, it is the thing that will save me. It is the thing that will keep me from drowning in the waves of hurt. It will force me to keep going, keep crawling through mud, keep walking through fire. It is the thing that makes me keep choosing life.
Hearing these words and knowing them and putting them into action, does not stop the pain. Nothing does. Not ever. But it does give me a really excellent reason to continue to connect and love and feel and be. It makes me want to do better. It carries, in it's words, the love that my husband gave to me, and that I will now give outward, in the largest and smallest of ways.
It really is the only way to get through this. The only way to survive.
In order to get through losing love, you have to give love.
Love is contagious.
Love is ongoing.
Love is a circle.
And I will keep going around.