’tis it really better to have loved and lost?

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

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One Response to ’tis it really better to have loved and lost?

  1. LD says:

    Tennyson was writing about a healthy love relationship – one that has been ended by death.

    He was NOT talking about an unhealthy love relationship – one that has been ended by selfishness or malice.

    He was talking about a thriving love relationship – one that has been cut short through no one’s fault

    Jill you were loved so deeply by JJ. You are fortunate to have had that kind of love. I can testify to the fact, that not everyone has ever known that depth of love.

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