One thing, among many, that inspires me to write is love. Many people think there are different kinds of love. I don’t. There may be different catalysts for love, e.g., physical desire, childbirth, intellectual desire, but they can all end with love.
I have learned that love is not a fleeting, temporary feeling. At least for me, it isn’t. Real love never ends. Love may change shapes, it may grow or shrink, and we may forget that we love someone, but it never goes away. And, having lost two family members in a span of one week, I am again reminded of what love is.
Love is grieving the loss of someone’s smile, their warmth and sweetness that shines through no matter what. My cousin Michael was in hospice, rapidly dying, but his warmth, sweetness and concern for his family shone through his illness. I only saw him a few times during my recent visit to New York, but his spirit was one of love. He hadn’t really come to terms with his impending death, but he was so alive in those moments that being in his presence was a blessing and a joy.
My cousin Tieakia was getting stronger when I left her. She was laughing, talking, and enjoying everyone around her. She was shopping online, eating Junior’s cheesecake, and relishing good soul food from a corner restaurant. I can still feel my arms around her. I can still hear her telling me “I love you.” I was shocked that she passed. I knew for sure that her strength, her scrappiness, and her tenacity would save her. I treasure hearing “I love you” from her. I will never forget the sound of her voice, her laugh, and her passion for life when I last saw her.
I worry about my family, I think about them almost all of the time. Time. Now I feel an urgent need to see them as much as I can, and see as many of them as I can. Why? Because we cannot take each other for granted. Even if we are in each other’s lives for only a moment in time, that moment is wondrous and precious. It is an enduring, never ending moment of love.
I have lost a grandmother who was my world, along with all of my grandparents, three of my closest friends, my father, and cousins. I have learned that loss is a part of life. I have also learned, most importantly, that love is a part of life. My family is the greatest gift in my life. If I had to choose one thing that I am grateful for from my parents, it is my family. The love I have for them is the part of life that prevails over all, and never leaves, no matter what.