There is a love that bears all things, the kind of love that looks you straight in the eye, into your soul, and sees everything….and still loves. The kind that allows you to be so transparent that nothing is hidden yet everything is loved. When we experience that kind of love our soul is blessed beyond all measure. The joy of holding that kind of love transcends any pain that may follow. For the greatest gift of this kind of love….from a mother, a spouse, a child, a friend, a dog….is knowing that just being in their presence is enough
I repost this blog today, Valentine’s Day, in honor of those whose love completely and unconditionally
Her eyes are glazed, yet a light in them still shines.
Her hearing is diminished, yet she still senses me.
She sits at my feet, as I rub her back between the shoulders.
She groans in acknowledgment, as if this happiness is too much to bear.
For a moment the panting stops.
A smile rests under her droopy eyes.
Her head turns, through those dimmed eyes she tells me of her love.
In days past, sixteen years of them, I would rush past her.
a quick pat on the head and I would be off
doing the things moms do, carpool, grocery shopping, logging miles on the minivan within my five mile radius
but when I returned she would be waiting
always with a wagging tail and a smile.
At times when things were not so rushed–
the groceries put away, the laundry folded–
I would put my tennis shoes on.
She would wag her, her eyes pleading expectantly.
“You wanna take a walk?” I would ask
and with that last word she would trot to the door.
We had our routine path, around the corner, past the pond, down to the left where old oak trees shaded us from the sweltering Florida sun, around the corner again along the sidewalk where bunnies scampered and butterflies flittered into the bramble when we passed.
When we turned back into the neighborhood her pace picked up a bit as she scampered up the driveway.
She knew she was home.
Years later, mom came to live with us. She was 83 years old. She partnered with us on these walks. Together the three of us would take that familiar path. Around the corner, past the pond, down to the left where old oak trees shaded us from the sweltering Florida sun, around the corner again along the sidewalk where bunnies scampered and butterflies flittered into the bramble when we passed. They were times to share tidbits of conversation or times of quiet reflection. Times of companionship.
When we turned back into the neighborhood, mom would exclaim every time, “Thank you, Lord, that we are home.”
A place of safety.
A place of familiarity
A place of refuge.
These walls of safety have kept out the elements. They have braved three hurricanes, a few tornado warnings, and multiple thunderstorms, even a lightning strike that hit the house and burned out our alarm system.
But these walls cannot shield us from the elements of aging, ones that grapple arthritic bones,
cataracts that dim the eyes, hearing loss that deafens a whisper
or amyloid plaques that tangle the brain.
These are elements that walls cannot keep out
so within these walls we must adapt and acclimate.
For many years I rushed in and out, hurrying on to the next thing.
these elements bear down:
arthritis, aging, alzheimer’s,
causing me to slow.
Stop rushing past.
Try to hold up.
Try to listen.
Try to see.
So we keep the routine.
Take the walks until the day the feet can only shuffle
Rub the back.
Hold the hand.
The smile still lingers, the one that rests under droopy eyes
and the sigh that says this happiness is too much to bear.
The head turns, the light in the eyes still shines
and through those dimmed eyes she tells me of her love.
A few months ago, the time came to put Cindy down. She was 16 years old. In her way, she let me know it was time.
She was lying down on a pink blanket. I put my face next to hers. She lifted her head slightly and looked straight into my eyes. With those eyes she said to me:
It’s OK. I love you. And I know that you love me and have loved me well. It’s OK to say good-bye. Let me go.
I love you.