I really think that the beauty of being human is the fact that we have the ability to love beyond measure. I say “ability” because not everyone chooses to love. Now, with that being said, being able to love means that we are open to being wounded. The wounds can come from not being loved in return, from losing that love, or from seeing that love hurt in some way. I look back over my years and the first time I can recall love causing me to hurt was when I was only 3 years old. My sweet mami lived next door to us and although I don’t have tons of strong memories, I do have the one of me running to her house every single morning and letting her wash my face with a warm wash cloth (to get rid of the sleepy man in my eyes). Afterwards we would sit and she would fix me breakfast and I would listen to her sing Amazing Grace. The pain came when I saw her “sleeping” and could not wake her up. I remember the hurt and the overwhelming sadness. Love had failed me. Over the years I loved my family, friends, boys, pets…..and eventually my children. Love let me down a few times and left me with a broken heart. I think it nearly destroyed me a few times. My brother passing, my first love leaving me, the loss of my dad, those moments that can never be captured again. The thing is that no matter how bad times get or how miserable life can be love will always be there in some way to heal you. The amazing thing I have found is how strong the love is that we have for our children. They come into our lives and turn it completely upside down. The moment a woman finds out she is pregnant she experiences a new kind of love that just cannot be measured or compared to anything. Over the next 9 months that love continuously grows for another human who you have never even laid eyes on. The pain and suffering of labor to bring this little human into the world just vanishes when they place that baby on your chest. The awesome thing is that they love you back and they love you in such a way that you would move mountains for them. You hurt when they hurt, you cry when they cry, and you smile because they laugh. You won’t allow anyone to harm them and even the thought of it makes you cringe with anger. Their love is strong enough to carry you through even the worst of days. It’s like you fall in love over and over again….from the first time they speak the word mama to their first steps or even to the day you see them walking down the aisle to graduate. The love you have for them is magical because a parent’s love can heal the boo boo’s, mend the broken hearts, take the sting of life away, and it can encourage them to grow and to spread their wings and fly. I think the worst love wound of all is that of a parent that has to let their child go. My parents experienced that wound and it never healed. The scar was always there even years down the road and for my sweet mama, even today 25 years later. The day I buried my dad I knew the pain and heartache he had experienced all those years from missing my brother was finally gone. My mom she was never herself again and I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt a part of her died the day he passed. Yes, love is such an amazing emotion, but it can be relentless and painful but don’t ever hold back. Love with all you are, your heart, your soul, your entire being. I think that if a person gets to the end of their life and they have loved without limits then they can pass on without regret. I know that I have experienced love without limits and for that I am blessed. The love my parents gave to me and the love I have received from being a mother has been worth every single heartache I have faced. I love freely….I am proud of the heart that I carry around inside me. Now, the reason I wrote this may be completely off subject in some ways but to me it screams LOVE. I was blessed to have crossed paths with a lady named Debbie. She joined a depression support group I formed. Over the past few months I have gotten to know Debbie’s sadness and her fears. Debbie was only 45 but her life had been full of struggle. She was born with spina bifida and had faced many trials including her last battle with cancer. Debbie was the first person who had reached out to me and I had nothing to give her….not even words that could ease the pain. Why? Because she was dying and we all knew she was dying. What do you say to a person who has the legitimate right to be angry and depressed? You can’t say it is going to get better. You can’t say it could be worse. You just can’t say anything that will ease the pain or fear of knowing that your time here is almost over. All I could do for Debbie was tell her I was sorry and I was sending thoughts and hugs her way. The last thing Debbie said was that she was just exhausted with life. I got the message a couple of days ago that Debbie had passed and my heart literally broke. My heart broke for a woman I had never met or knew too much about. I sat in my bed and I cried like a baby because this woman’s life was over and I felt as if I failed her. I loved her as a human being and as a friend. Love reaches across the miles, across the oceans, over the mountains, into the universe. She touched my heart and my life even though I only knew her for a short period of time. As I sat here tonight I had Debbie on my mind and I pulled Hallie close to my heart and I hugged her tight. I think the loss of any form of love (such as friendship, spouses, parents, whatever) just gives you the desire to love even deeper. Thank you Debbie for allowing me to be your friend in the time of need and thank you for reminding me how important it is to share my love with those who I care about. May you soar among the clouds my sweet friend!