This blog post made me think of the phrase “tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
When JJ died and I was reeling with the shock, drowning in a black place of despair and fear, I thought of this phrase. Even talked about it a little with a minister friend, and from what I recall we just kind of looked at each other like, is it REALLY better? I wasn’t sure, but I was leaning toward no.
This pain was more than I thought I could bear. The cost was too high. If I hadn’t loved, my heart wouldn’t be a raw wound; my soul would not have been crying out in agony.
I wanted an escape.
Of course there wasn’t one. I couldn’t undo loving JJ.
A few things happened that changed my mind, and slowly I began to agree with Alfred Lord Tennyson.
I was surrounded by love. Family, friends, neighbors, strangers that became dear friends, strangers that I never saw or heard from again. I distinctly felt the love from JJ through these people who were compelled to reach out to me. And they felt it too. It was a palpable, visible testimony to the love that JJ and I shared. One woman said to me that she had never been loved like that, not by her husband or anyone else.
At that moment I understood what a rare gift that love was. Is.
Not everyone gets it. So even though I suffered immeasurable loss I treasure and am grateful for the gift I was allowed to experience.
And I know that love never dies. For that lesson alone, I am willing to live with the cost.
So I continue to seek, and find, hope.
I envy not in any moods
The captive void of noble rage,
The linnet born within the cage,
That never knew the summer woods:
I envy not the beast that takes
His license in the field of time,
Unfetter’d by the sense of crime,
To whom a conscience never wakes;
Nor, what may count itself as blest,
The heart that never plighted troth
But stagnates in the weeds of sloth;
Nor any want-begotten rest.
I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
’Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Alfred Lord Tennyson In Memoriam:27