Another Guest Blogger on LOVE- a truly unique and different story today!
I love driving along the road with the wind in my hair, singing at the top of my voice to Foreigner's, "I wanna know what love is .. " . Apart from liking the song, I love that whilst my mouth is busy singing the words, my brain is busy asking " Do I really know what love is? "
This is a question that frequently haunts my thoughts. As a little girl, dreaming of white knights and honeymoons in Switzerland, I only thought of love as being what I needed in my childhood cocoon and, what seemed like an eternity away, that MAN who would sweep me of my feet and declare undying love for me and ME only ! . My Dad's bear hugs when the whole world was against me (more likely my Mum telling me off !), a homemade biscuit when walking into an empty house after school, a book that I could lose myself in and dancing were the loves that I knew I could count on. Later, when a week after my 14th birthday, my Mother left, those sureties lessened even more and love became something that for me, was difficult. I had no problem loving others but being able to accept that I was a lovable person was a whole other ball game AND a whole other blog.
I wanna talk about love ... love between a HUSBAND and WIFE.
Except for the obligatory "falling out before they marry " , Hollywood would have us believe that LOVE, a REAL TRUE LOVE, is always GOOD. ALWAYS happy, ALWAYS shining. Nothing bad ever happens to two people who are TRULY in LOVE. Not that this is anything new, because since time began, we have heard fairytales of TRUE LOVE and HAPPY EVER AFTER from birth. In these days of " I want it and I want it NOW", if there is even a slight smudge of a thumbprint on the shininess of TRUE LOVE , it's become a case of discard that love, he or she is not the ONE.
Well, after dabbling in Hollywood fantasy and lust dressed up as "love and marriage" during my tender Twenties, and spending 20 years in contemplation of what LOVE between a man and woman should be, whilst raising my children single handedly, I thought that I was well PREPARED for my MAN to come thundering in and fly me to the Swiss Alps. I thought that I had debunked the whole mystery of being in LOVE with HIM and was just waiting for MY happy ever after to BEGIN. I knew that it takes TWO to MAKE a marriage and it takes TWO to BREAK a marriage.
I had found ME during that time and discovered that not only was I stubbornly independent (a quality that I have most generously shared with my own daughter ), intelligent, sexy and strong ( yes, I shared those too!) but I was also LOVABLE.
Drum roll, please..... dadadadaaa, and then I found HIM! Now this is no small feat considering that I was all the way around the globe living in Perth, Western Australia and he hails from Utah, USA !! We struck up a friendship in an online dating site whilst he was driving across his country in a white Peterbuilt truck and I sold fabrics in mine. As an aside, it's actually amazing just how many people the inter (or as MY man would say entire) net has actually matched into couples! We developed warm fuzzies for each other, got engaged, had the obligatory falling out, got together in the same country, said YES and committed to an ETERNITY together and then REALITY set in. HORRIBLE, HARD, HURTFUL REALITY.
Who was THIS man ?? Why, when we LOVE each other so much was it so difficult to LIVE together ? How come I never got told that LOVE hurt? That there were days when LOVE was buried under a tonne of words that harmed ?? That you can LOVE and HATE in the same minute???? That there were times when running far, far away seemed like the best solution?? (Certainly not an easy thing to do when living in a country that has not yet become home!)
How can REAL love be so painful ? Everything that I had learned or THOUGHT I had learned about TRUE LOVE, ETERNAL LOVE vanished. Now, I told you I am stubborn, so giving up is not something that I really do well!! Immigration stepped into the fight and soon I was returning to my safe place and my children, to figure out that age old question .. what is LOVE but more importantly if this is what LOVE is, can I LIVE with it ???
Now, don't get me wrong, I am married to an amazing man. A GOOD man. WE match on so many levels. WE LOVE each other, it's just darn hard to live together.
Six weeks later, that thumbprint smudge had covered any shininess and I was ready to discard and move on. Then at 5 am on Thursday 9th October 2008, I answered the call that NO ONE ever wants to answer. Life changed in a nanosecond. In that lightning flash of horror that occurs, I KNEW that nothing mattered except LOVE. I flew home to Idaho. For the next 3 magical months, LOVE was HEAVEN. HEAVEN was LOVE. My MAN, slept deep in his coma for a few weeks and floated in sedation for a few more. LOVE was EASY for the first time. I felt him, I heard him, I knew he was there, I KNEW THAT HE LOVED ME, even as I dealt with staff telling me to think about THAT choice, QUALITY VERSUS QUANTITY of life. As his broken body and brain started to come together into some semblance of the man I said YES to, his ICU room became OUR HEAVEN. When he learnt to speak again just before Christmas that year, HIS first words were " I know I love you and I know we are married I just don't remember your name." There will never be ANYTHING he can utter that will ever be as sweet and magical as those words.
January 3rd 2009, our HEAVEN vapourised as a plane swiftly returned me to the land Down Under and REALITY and our PAST returned with vigour. Along with the added bonus of dealing with the changes that Quadriplegia and memory loss bring to our LIFE here on Earth. In the last two years, those kilometres/miles have afforded US the chance to sift through baggage and FIND the FOREVER US.
LOVE, a REAL TRUE LOVE is not just a feeling. It's a COMMITMENT and a CHOICE. Everyday we CHOOSE to LOVE and we CHOOSE to COMMIT. Some days are better than others. Some days are so BRIGHT and SHINY that WE can see FOREVER.
The only thing my white knight rides now is an electric wheelchair and I still haven't had a honeymoon but do I know what LOVE is ??? OH, YEAH.