Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love endures all things. Love endures all things.
So often when a loved one dies, we feel like the love we shared with them has died, too. While death may take a life it cannot take a relationship and it cannot take the love that was shared in that relationship because love endures all things.
For me this enduring love came in the form of a child who died before I got the chance to meet her. Though I never got to experience her love, I got to experience a mother’s love for the very first time because of her. And though it would be easier to forget, I choose to remember. I choose to remember the love I first felt for my child. I choose to let my love for her give me strength as I parent my living child. I choose to allow my love for her to inspire me to comfort others. I choose to allow my love for her to give me courage as I remember that if I could survive her death I can survive anything. I choose to allow the lessons her loss taught me to bring joy amidst my grief.
Death may leave a permanent mark on a life, but the mark that love leaves is more powerful still. The mark that love leaves imparts us with gifts that death cannot take from us. Gifts that we can hold on to even after we cannot hold on to our loved one.
Love imparts us with memories that are ours to keep as long as we live, memories that even death can’t steal from us. I want to give you a moment right now to pause, in silence, with your eyes closed to think of a favorite memory of your loved one; a special day, a momentous occasion, a favorite trip together, a time when you just laughed together. Go ahead and close your eyes and allow yourself to live that moment. Feel free to open your eyes. Remembering can be hard, painful, even, but when we remember we are honoring the mark that love has left on us. We are honoring the pieces of our loved one that they have left with us even in their death. Memories and remembering allow love to endure all things.
Love also imparts strength on us. Do you remember a moment of defeat in your life, a moment where you didn't think you could go on, a moment when you felt like everyone else had knocked you down, but then there was your person, standing beside you, strengthening and empowering you to get up from anything that had knocked you down. Maybe you feel like that strength and that love have been stolen from you.
You probably have had some moments since your loved one died that you felt your weakest. Even still, in those moments of defeat and discouragement, those moments when you felt the weakest, remember the love your person gave you in life and let that be your strength. Let that love continue to give you strength even now. Just as love can endure all things, the strength our person gave us can endure all things.
Love inspires us, doesn’t it? Love inspires us to try new things, to feel new things, to believe new things. Maybe it was a parent who inspired you to try out for that team, or take that job, or go to college. Maybe it was a spouse who inspired new feelings deep inside of you. Maybe it was a child who inspired you to believe the unbelievable or inspired you to keep going when you weren't sure you could. Maybe it was a sibling or friend who inspired you to believe in yourself. Do you feel like that inspiration is gone now? Or do you still feel its spark flickering somewhere deep inside, like hot embers just waiting for a warm breath to blow over and reignite them? Just as love can endure all things, the inspiration that love lights in us can also endure all things.
Love imparts courage on us and even death can’t steal courage from us. the courage we were given by our loved one to stand in the face of adversity, to continue to fight when we didn’t feel like we could keep fighting, to achieve a dream that seemed impossible, to reach that goal
that felt so out of reach. All of these things we were able to overcome because of the love of our person continue to be our courageous accomplishments even in their absence. And because of the love that they gave us in life, we can continue to overcome any obstacle with courage and achieve any dream with courage. The courage our loved one gave us can endure all things.
Love imparts joy on us, joy may be an emotion you don’t experience much or one you don’t feel like you may ever experience again. Can joy and grief even co-exist? They can and they do, joy and grief exist almost as a dance. Sometimes the dance is awkward and clumsy, other times it can be graceful and beautiful. Sometimes Joy is leading the dance, other times grief takes the lead, and occasionally neither partner knows the dance. sometimes the dance leaves us feeling energized other times it leaves us with an ache just as new dance shoes that weren’t properly broken in. And like any dance, the dance of grief and joy can take time to learn, but it’s not an impossible dance to learn. And as you continue to let your person’s love give you courage and strength, as you hold on to the memories that you created in love your heart will continue to learn the dance of joy and grief. The dance will become less awkward, the dance will become less painful, and you will find more often that joy is the leading partner.