The Downside of Love

Yesterday I was at a funeral for my aunt. Her obituary started with the words “After a life well lived”, and that it was. And, as with most deaths, there are those left behind who will suffer her loss. My cousin and I were talking about the pain that is the down-side of loving. At some point, we will all face it.

Today I was thinking about a friend that I used to have who was like family to me. I loved her as my sister. And she left me behind. It was a gradual thing. Short replies to texts. Awkward moments. The realization that our communication had become one-sided. Eventually I gave up. Even after finding out what I had done (because, of course, it was something I had done), there was no going back. My heart still hurts when I think of her, and probably always will.

But what these two deaths, one real, and one metaphorical, really got me thinking about is the importance of living our lives fully. Authentically. Live big. Love big.

Sometimes people will leave us behind when we’re not ready to be left, and that is the downside of love. And when that happens, we can either shut down or be thankful that we had the opportunity to love and to have been loved. We can turn inwards, or we can reach out to those who are still with us, standing beside us, loving us fully and unconditionally.

When it comes down to it, the joy that love brings will always be worth the pain. And that love will give us, too, a life well lived.

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