I just saw an article online that Patton Oswalt has found love again and is engaged. My first thought was, “YES! He’s keeping the love going–awesome!”
Then I read the comments…
My next thought was, “Humans can really suck. Like really, truly SUCK.”
So many people were shaming him because he hadn’t “waited long enough.”
“This is just too soon. It won’t last.”
“Rebound. How sad that he just forgets his first wife and moves on so quickly.”
“I hope if I ever die my husband doesn’t replace me so fast.”
Given the judgmental, ugliness of most of these comments, I could honestly understand why their spouse WOULD replace them rather quickly. They’re not here on earth to experience anything but the fleeting superiority of being “right.”
Last I checked, my Life Handbook did not include a calendar for when I can open my heart to love. I thought one of the amazing joys of being human and having the freedoms we have is so that we can love MORE. So that we can fill our bodies, our minds, and our communities with love. Because isn’t that what makes the world go round?
We like to forget that we all have an expiration date and that it is usually completely unknown. I’m not promised this next Christmas or next year’s birthday celebration that I’m already planning, because I enjoy the excitement of celebrating the ones I love. I’m not promised a goodnight kiss from the man who makes me want to be a better human every day. I’m not promised another hug from my kids tomorrow. It could all be taken from me in the collision of two cars, the inhalation of too much pool water, the swift invisible assault on a heart I love, causing it to pulse its last beat.
I could be gone or my loved ones could be gone but my capacity to love and be loved does not die with me or with them.
Sometimes I think those of us who have loved completely, so wholeheartedly it’s almost as if the love becomes our air, keeping us alive are the ones who are able to find it the easiest. Find it even when losing the source of that all-encompassing love has left us.
Why would anyone deny someone their happiness? Why would you want a good person to spend one more day lonely, sad, struggling, and heartbroken? Because you have come up with some rule on how long a person needs to be miserable before they can choose joy again? There is so much ugliness, hatred, and downright evil in our world the ONLY thing we have to combat that, to have any hope of rising above that is LOVE and JOY! And there are people who want to deny that, who want to shame people for choosing light over darkness. I’m not sure I will ever understand some humans.
I know the joy of love, of feeling loved and letting the ones I care about know they’re loved. I can’t imagine wanting that to stop because I lost someone. It would make me want it even more, to share it with all the people I could so that they too could experience the wonder that love brings.
I am not saying I would “replace” anyone. I could never replace my husband, my kids or my parents. Ever. And losing them would crush me. But if I was still living, still meant to bring something to this world, I would want that thing to be love. It might not be romantic and I am unable to have more kids but I could still love. And if I met someone who once again made me smile, who made me want to continue to be a better human and who made me feel safe and cherished, I know without a doubt, anyone who had cared about me would want that for me. Just as I would want it for those I love.
I know there is no replacing someone, no replacing their love. There is only finding more love. Different love. And in continuing to be open to love, kindness and joy, I will keep their memory alive.
Because love never has to die.