“Love is not enough. It must be the foundation, the cornerstone – but not the complete structure. It is much too pliable, too yielding.” -Bette Davis
My son and his girlfriend ended their relationship today. It was not for lack of love, but rather life circumstances that brought it to this end. My son, now a college freshman, and his girlfriend, still in the midst of high school, are traveling in different worlds. We all love her and loved them together. Everyone is sad, but not surprised. The space between expanded with each passing day.
I grieved this breakup today, hearing both of them in tears, separately. I listened and felt the tears well up in my own eyes. I could only empathize and try to share how long life is, how time may well show them other sides of this love and how what is most deep and essential about how they loved will stay with them. I could only continue loving them both.
My feet still feel like they are at the very edge of life. The memory of my son’s fall has more and more a surreal quality over time as his miraculous recovery picks up steam. Yet, it rests as an eerily close call inside me. Little things remind me all the time where the edge is and it feels hard to let go of anything or anyone.
In discussing this seemingly inevitable, yet tender loss in the family, my husband shared some tender moments he had with our children over the last couple of days while I was out of town. “There was no place I would have rather been. No one else I would have wanted to be with…” He teared up too. “I felt so lucky to love them.”
Sometimes loving someone is not enough to keep them from the pain that goes with it. Whether through accident or circumstance, opening our heart, bearing our love up with our utmost tenderness is the most excruciatingly, beautiful challenge of staying profoundly human.
With love as the foundation, the structure is built, stick-by-stick with courage, persistence and a little bit of humor. Love is not enough and it is everything.