I went to Hospice yesterday. I rode along with my mom who went to visit her precious aunt battling a brain tumor. In the car I watched a video of a pregnancy announcement, in an entertaining turn of events, the husband surprising the wife. His eyes filled with happy tears when he realized they were going to be bringing another little life into the world. When she finally caught on to what was happening she was elated. As she started to cry, I did too, thinking to myself, "This is love..."
Moments later we pulled into the facility. A kind woman with a warm face pointed us in the direction we needed to go. Quiet and clean, peaceful yet sterile. We rounded the corner and entered the room. Her breathing was heavy and labored, the morphine and the swelling of her brain keeping her in that place just beyond our reach. After a while in the room, we went outside and talked with my mom's uncle. He had spent most of the morning working out the excruciating "details."As we talked, tears filled his eyes and he said, "I'm glad it's her. I would hate for her to feel this pain, this loss." And then, I realized, "THIS is love."
There's more to love than pregnancy announcements. It's miscarriages and infertility. We get caught up in weddings and forget about funerals. It's not simply the person standing beside you on the mountaintop, it's the one prostrate beside you in your deepest valleys. We think it's hours of endless conversation, but what about the time when no words can fill the space? It is more than having a hand to hold, it's the one that keeps holding on when the other can no longer squeeze back. Love is sacrifice, pain, and vulnerability. It's risking it all for another. Sometimes better sometimes worse, sometimes sickness sometimes health. Til death do us part.
So love, sometimes, means letting go. But holding fast.
For her, today holds the hope of heaven. For him, it's day 1 in a world that for 34 years his precious wife held together. Choose love and choose wisely.