Thursday, August 13, 2009

Reflections on loss and love

It's been a while since I've written.  Life has been so interesting.  I find myself experiencing love and loss at the same time.  I am convinced that in order to really experience life, you have to appreciate the extremes that exist.  I know love.  I have been blessed to understand the varieties of love.  I love my child with a love that is unexplainable.  No matter what she does, it never changes how I feel about her.  My marriage has taught me the range of love--from intensity to intimacy.  I love my family--they offer me invaluable support.  I know brotherly love just as I have tasted the depths of passion.  But love has also come with a price.  

I appreciate love even more because I understand loss.  The last few years have been very difficult ones for me and my family.  To say losing my father was challenging is understatement. My father was this big, strong, 6'6 man who never was sick.  The first time I saw him with a bad cold was in April of 2005.  We were both diagnosed with pneumonia.  Mine went away with treatment.  Despite all of the treatment he received, he got worse.  We soon discovered that the bad cold was actually lung cancer.  From June to September, I watched this strong Adonis become weak and frail.  My uncle passed away a week prior to my dad's death.  We had my uncle's wake on Friday at 6 p.m. and my dad's that same day at 7 p.m.  My family continues to experience a death.  As I write this, my aunt's (who died in December) uncle passed away earlier this week.  In addition, my cousin is in the hospital dying of cancer.  I have watched countless relatives transition to the other side of life.  Even though I know that they are all in a better place, free from suffering, I would be deceitful to say that this is painless for me.  I miss so many of them.  I would love to call my grandmother and tell her the crazy things that my daughter does that keeps us laughing hysterically.  I would love to watch the expression of my father's face to see her growth and maturity.  It would be amazing for my grandfather to even meet her.  He died well before she was born.

My losses have served as a compass for me.  I have learned how to hold on to those I love and tell them what they mean to me daily.  I don't need a tragedy to appreciate them.  I recognize that there are some people and some things that are a waste of energy and time to focus on.  A year from now, they won't matter.  I realize that each day is a gift that should be appreciated and loved.  When you know loss, you can value love in a new and unique way.  

My prayer is to always be grateful.  I have to remind myself to not focus on what is lacking but the abundance that exists in my life.  Despite the pain, I do know pleasure.  In spite of the setbacks, I understand  the look of victory and accomplishment.  The extremes in a strange way have helped me to remain balanced.  My quest is to find middle ground in between those extremes.  If I can do that, I know that I will experience and conquer peace.