I have been contemplating the meaning of love from many different perspectives since the diagnosis. One day I am talking wedding vows with my daughter and future son-in-law, the next day I am talking about sex over 50 with my girlfriends, or nurturing a baby after helping Erica nanny. It has been a wild ride.
When I go back to the baby love, the unconditional love discussion comes back into play. I remember an unconsolable baby and slam dunking him into the crib or passing him off to someone who was better able to have patience with him, then I think about how much better that was than having to deal with a crack baby or what adopted parents must go through. Go to Child Haven and spend some time rocking and caring for babies that have Mothers who cannot take care of them. It makes you appreciate life and what you have. Our councelor at Swedish Center suggested volunteer somewhere. After much thought and reflection, the reality of volunteering does help you see the love we take for granted. There is always someone who is worse off than you who needs your love and affection.
The wedding planner gets to revisit another stage of love. My mother asked me to write 10 reasons why I was marrying Steve, and it made me think about the depth of each of my responses, which at age 21 seemed rather shallow at first thought. I lost those responses (I knew you would ask), but the ones I retained were the volunteer ones that Steve wrote for me. I review them when I wonder what we had in common then that are still there to grow on after 30 years. I have asked Erica and Dan to write their 10 reasons...are they deep enough to last a lifetime?
The girl's nite out makes me reflect on love after 50...life after the kids are out of the nest, or perhaps not...divorce, vasectomies, menopause, hot flashes, sleeping and work schedules, and the irritating habits that have persisted or developed after so many years that we cannot cope with. Such is the imputus of stress and ailments. We have to slow down, go back to baby state when we loved ourselves. I have discovered at this stage we need to love ourselves once again before we can possibly love others. THEN we are to reach out and love our neighbor as ourself. Slowing down, taking time to love myself is what this cancer has done for me.
There are volumes that could be writen from these simple thoughts, but perhaps something in the brevity creates your own story and you will use it constructively to begin to balance or heal your own life. The ripple effect is amazingly strong.
Someone from the next generation needs to add the next paragraph-I love the stories that you tell! God has planted me next to old folks who add so much to my life.