We are all only lent to this planet — and to the people who love us. We want to believe that we have a long lease, and some of us do, but even that time is relative. How long we are able to have the people we love and care for – is not our decision.
If that was true, my husband and I would still be singing in the car at the top of our lungs. I have a decent voice but my husband, the Irish tenor, was blessed with the singing prowess. Still, the memory of our naïve, wistful voices singing our hearts out can still bring me to tears. One of these songs, by Trisha Yearwood, encapsulates our story so very well:
If I would’ve known the way that this would end
If I would’ve read the last page first
If I would’ve had the strength to walk away
If I would’ve known how this would hurt
I would’ve loved you anyway
I’d do it all the same
Not a second I would change
Not a touch that I would trade
Had I known my heart would break
I’d have loved you anyway.
Would we choose to be all-in for someone, in all the dimensions love calls us to, if we knew our person would be stolen without even a whisper? Can we really say that foreseeing decimating heartbreak we’d still choose to ‘love anyway’ ? I’d like to say I never doubted it but in the deep of night, at the moments I feel most alone, I admit I’ve wondered. Would I do it all again, knowing what I know now?If the spectre of heartbreak is still raw, still throbbing, we might say ‘no’. No, we wouldn’t because love costs too damn much. But then, would we choose not to have children, a best friend, not to even have a pet because the loss of them was too painful to think about. I’m pretty sure I know the answer.
I wish ‘forever’ would have lasted longer; a lot longer. No one thinks forever has an expiration date, especially when it involves our spouse, family and everyone close to and in our hearts. Maya Angelou believed that “Life indeed is not measured by the number of breaths we take – but by the moments that take our breath away”. If that’s true, I’m glad I follow my penchant for taking pictures, despite the protests from the peanut gallery to cease and desist. Because it’s in those pictures, my treasure trove of hundreds of images, that I can glimpse the living color moments. I can see life captured in time, in transcendence. It’s then that I laugh, and cry remembering the good times, however painful the memory through the lens of grief.
I don’t think it’s possible, as humans in this crazy daily life, to actually cherish every minute, to remember each second borrowed on forever as well as the reality that all can be withdrawn in a heartbeat. Maybe we’d focus more intensely, scrutinize every detail in every time frame as we lived them. We might try to freeze frame each moment even knowing its futility.
Instead, the best we can do is imagine life saying ‘Hey, take a picture – it lasts longer’. Indeed.