Friday, August 22, 2014

Love and Loss

My parents, were not the equation that formulated my existence. My Mom and Step Dad were madly in love and gave me a window to what real Love looks like. This October, my Dad will have been gone for almost 19 years. But, for the years that they had together, I can only describe their relationship as everlasting.

Every anniversary, from the beginning to the last, he brought her a dozen red roses.

My Mom hated red roses.

They were so cliche, the epitome of every household husband's endorsement of Hallmark romance. This was an act of love, and of humor, and every year I'd come home from school and see them on the kitchen counter.

Every year, they lasted on the counter until the last petal fell.

Almost married 15 years, he lost his premature fight to brain cancer a month before they would have celebrated together.  Even though his life of motorcycles, flying planes, Dirty Harry and James Bond passions were cut short, so was his love story to a blonde firecracker of a woman named Naomi.

"Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all."  -Alfred Lord Tennyson

Tennyson, a man who had wrote many acclaimed works was critically assailed after writing his second book of poetry, The Lady of Shallot. After his critics publicly humiliated his work, he retreated for a ten year hiatus before attempting another. That is, until his best friend died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage before taking his sister's hand in marriage. After the untimely death of his best friend, Arthur Hallam's passing inspired him to write many more masterpieces including In Memoriam from which this most profound excerpt was birthed.

"Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all."

What does this mean? Why would it have been better to have loved and lost? It has been presented as a question, in every literary class whether in post secondary education or grade school I've ever had.

 Every response from my childhood, to adulthood has resonated the same, and it comes from that very place of loss.

"I know what love is."

To my Mom who just celebrated her 65th birthday, I'm sure each October when my Dad passed, bares a bitter sweet void where those red petals fell.

I can assure you this, you cannot replace a true thing with an imposter. Even if abbreviated, 3 months of a substitute will never measure to 3 seconds of true love and in transverse. Even though my parents never got to experience the celebration of a 20 year anniversary, 14 years of veritable love far outweighs a lifetime of any synthetic substitute. I think when Tennyson experienced this very loss of a beloved friend and of his sister's, he was blessed with the opportunity to write the truth, that the absolute concentrate of love between two people for however long or short lived, is better than nothing at all.

Never accept anything less, never.