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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Love Ferociously

If you have been following my writing or know me personally, you know that the past couple months have been rough but gentle, tiresome yet uplifting. Full of fear yet tremendous courage.  I have witnessed my dad fight to regain his mobility after an accident left him paralyzed.   He chose fight over flight.  There were dark days, though.  Those nights when you are left alone with your thoughts and fighting just seems too hard. In those crucial moments you must decide what it is you want to live for. 

At 79, he could have easily cashed in his chips and still made out a winner.  It was an option for sure. But he didn't. He threw down his cards and said hit me.

This experience cracked open all the solid people in my life.  It exposed our weaknesses.   It left us sitting there, vulnerable and with little or no energy left to try and hide them.   And a crazy thing happened, our weaknesses are what gave us strength.   The tremendous amount of energy that was spent attempting to hide things was desperately needed in other areas, and slowly our perceived weaknesses began to stand out.  

What I considered a weakness in myself is what I believe maybe..possibly was my strength.

I had a close friend tell me that one of my strengths is that I give myself completely when I'm with someone.  Making them feel that they are the most important person in the world.   I had people tell me that before, but this time, I let it sink in and heard it.

Alongside my brother's weakness of being unwavering, my sister's inability to accept no for an answer and my mother's stubborn Irish determination to never leave my dad's side,  I sat with my enormous ability to love ferociously.    All my dad had to do was the excruciatingly hard work to stand, and we were going to catch him.  And he did.

What I decided was that I don't need to hide who or what or when I love someone or something. I'm like a Care Bear when they do their stare.  I don't have to cover it up or tone it down for fear that I am coming on too strong. In this case, my strength was needed. And who doesn't like a bunch or rainbows bursting out of your belly?

In 2016, I decided to tell people I love them when I feel it. To give them a long bear hug when I think they need it and to be completely present when I'm with them. 

Since deciding this, I have sent several texts to friends.   For example, my coach who I work out with received a text that I think he is awesome, and I'm happy he is in my life.   A friend I hadn't seen in awhile received a text that she makes me laugh, and I love her. A friend who just lost his mother received me on his doorstep and a healthy dose of what it feels like to lose at the game of Cards Against Humanity. I told an acquaintance that I think she is beautiful.   I have celebrating birthdays and attending parties like it's 1999, but its 2016 and time is crucial. 

I tell my husband what I love about him and share dreams that I was too scared to mention out of fear.  Oh, and then there are my boys. The only four souls on the planet who, if were oranges would have been juice by now.  I just can't squeeze them hard enough.  In fact, Oscar asked me to stop saying "I love you" because he is tired of hearing it. To which I said, "never" and squeezed him even harder.

People have always said that love hurts, and I too went along with that, but I don't think they have tried loving people ferociously because it feels fucking awesome.

I was talking to my brother yesterday. We now talk every single day, instead of just texting, and I dared to say that this accident was kind of, in a weird way, a blessing at least for us.  Because now I say what is on my mind, even if it sounds mushy or harsh. But he agreed and told me he loved me because my flaw of loving too much has worn off on him and his flaw of being unwavering has worn off on me.

My dad has always found unconventional ways to teach his children life lessons, and this is, albeit a very dramatic way, but nonetheless a lesson about love and strength. It's not too often you get a second chance to say what you really feel to the people you love.