My mum had a fairly serious surgery this week and has been staying with me in the city while she recovers. She’s ok, and we’re confident that she will be ok ‘long term’, but she’s had a rough time both physically and emotionally.
One of the hardest things about being widowed is that I have this horrible intimate knowledge about how precious and fragile life is that I was naïve to before Dan died.
I think that before his death, I actually believed that everyone I loved would live until I was in my 90’s and I’d never have to deal with loss. Then death became real instead of an intangible concept and, oh boy, did it tear me apart in a way I could never have prepared for.
In the months after his death I was totally petrified that I was going to lose someone else. I still am to a significant extent but it’s not there every day, it’s subtle. Like when my sister doesn’t reply to a text message for a few hours and I start to imagine the worst. Or when my mum gets sick and I’m reminded that one day (hopefully veeeeery far in to the future) I will probably have to say goodbye to my parents too.
Even writing that makes me choke up. Now that we know how grief feels, how can we help but fear it? And the more we love, the more we have to lose.
That’s just how it is. And as much as it sucks, I have to admit, I still wouldn’t give it up. Yes it would be nice to wrap myself up in cotton wool and avoid ever feeling grief and loss again, but if that means never having love in my life – then I chose love. As much love as possible. Yes more love means a greater risk but it also means a fuller, happier life.
As I’m sitting here writing this, my four-year-old nephew is curled up under my arm watching a movie. I love him so much I could burst. I know that my love for him could one day hurt me, but I wouldn’t give it up for anything.
And if you asked me if I’d go back and give up my time with Dan just so I could avoid the incredible pain that I suffered in losing him. I’d say no way – not ever. I’d love him over and over and over again. I choose love. Love will always be worth it.