Love and loss

LossWhen we lose someone who is loved, there is no way to be consoled. We might dwell on their heroism, talk about the ways they brought love and hope and happiness into the lives of their family. However, there is no getting past the fact of their loss.

A dear friend lost her child this past week. It was an unexpected accident … he and his family were swimming and were caught in a rip. His wife and girls survived physically … he was a hero to the end, striving to save them. I knew Alex from when he was a child; it is the child I will remember. In my memory he lives. Lighting a candle for his spirit, his brightness, is not enough. There is never anything that answers loss … except time.

I find myself asking why it hit me so hard. I guess I’ve been saying ‘not today’ to death for a while now. Ever since my husband had his heart event, he has experienced diminished energy and function. We say ‘not today’, in order to live for today. We are being very gentle with each other, absorbing our friend’s loss. We are grateful for each other, and the strength we share.

Sad today …

Jolly rumble

This is a favorite song for the season. May Day is upon us and while others may think about labor unions, for me it is a time to think on summer. Long lazy days on the deck with a cool drink, the company of good friends, my sweetheart beside me. Love the version of the song I posted below too.

…Hal-an-Tow, jolly rumbelow
We were up long before the day-o
To welcome in the summertime
To welcome in the May-o
For summer is coming in
And winter’s gone away…


Tomorrow is the first of May and we will be, indeed, awake long before the day to welcome in the summer. We will turn off the lights and the electronics and light the house with candles.

Last year at this time, the cherry blossoms in the back yard were faintly visible as the sky was backlit with the city lights below the cloud cover. Raven and I sat and held hands as we talked about our days. Conversation wandered gently from observation of the sky to expressing our love and gratitude for each other, enjoying the light of the candles, and being on the cusp of summer. Good times.

I am looking forward to celebrating again this year, though I think french toast with maple syrup and nutmeg eggs would be a good starter. Later on tomorrow  we will picnic in the park and watch some children weave a May pole with brightly colored ribbons. May Day for us is a day to be frivolous, mischievous and to share silliness with friends. It is part of the seasonal wheel that is the cusp of spring/summer.

(Quote above is from the song Hal An Tow.)

Love is in the air

Raven by Ria

Raven by Ria

Later on this afternoon we are attending a wedding of some great people, Angela and Sean. We started our day, however, reaffirming our love for each other. We snuggled in bed for a late start to the day, made breakfast together, and then talked for a couple of hours about life, the universe and everything. Along the way, we solved a challenge in book two of a series of novels I am writing, and even read amiably while drinking tea and petting the kitties.

And now? I have just baked fresh scones for us to share when Raven comes back from getting a few groceries at the store. Simple stuff of life. Yet rich, comforting, and alive. I am feeling gratitude for the great love we share. It will be good to see friends affirm their own journey into bliss.

Top 10 for relationships

A chum posted a cute image about relationship advice on facebook. It made me think about what my top 10 pieces of advice would be. This is the first thing I came up with.

Learn to say “I’m really sorry” and mean it. Especially when you are right.

Then I started thinking about it some more, based on relationships and friendships that go back more than 20 years.

My top 10 pieces of advice for a good relationship?

  1. Display affection
  2. Give appreciation
  3. Listen, not just hear
  4. Budget the luxuries first
  5. Make and eat food together
  6. Love who they are becoming
  7. Be silly together
  8. Snuggle | cuddle
  9. Be curious about their dreams
  10. Spend time together | time apart

Growing the love

poppies in a fieldIn the English-speaking world, we grow up with stories about true love, magical love, divine and destined love. We read about friendships that last a lifetime, and we are introduced to the idea of looking for redemption or completion through our relationships. Sometimes, we are even fortunate enough to see evidence of those relationships around us. We see examples of old couples who still appear to glow, whose faces light up when they see each other, who continue to be in love, in love forever.

Yet we see as many situations that do not play out as they do in storybooks, and we ask ourselves why? And perhaps we should be asking ourselves, why not? In a storybook, there is usually an obstacle or two to overcome, and this adds interest to the story, and makes it resonate with us. However, we seem to be a little lazy in the stories of our own lives. We expect perfection, right away. We walk away from anything that becomes uncomfortable, or challenging, and in doing so, we often walk away from the opportunity for love to grow.

A good friend of mine said something years ago that has played out to be true for me. “If you are willing to look deeply into someone, you cannot help but love them.” By this, he meant that willingness to love was the pre-requisite for love. I have come to believe we have within us the ability to cultivate love, and to also cultivate an expectation that we will see the good in people. That makes it much easier to both find love, and to keep it growing when we have found it, whether that is friendship or a deeper kind of experience.

Copyright 2012 R Loader all rights reserved

Thankful Thursday

I cannot remember who suggested it first, back when our tribe connected on another social network, but the idea of Thankful Thursdays has stuck with me. The idea is that once a week, on a Thursday, we’d think about the things we’re grateful for in our lives. And then we’d post that for everyone to see. We didn’t do it every week, and it was likely once every month or so for each of us. It was a voluntary acknowledgement of what we were celebrating that week, something like this:

Thankful Thursday

The top 15 things I am grateful for this week

  1. being more in love with my spice/spouse every day
  2. friends who live around the world, and keep in touch by various means
  3. family who support each other, and who are demonstrative, affectionate, eccentric and opinionated
  4. that my sense of curiosity and wonder appears to be intact
  5. our wonderful kitties, Tempus Fugit and Morpheus
  6. a terrific house, with interesting objects and art everywhere I look
  7. flexibility – having a body and brain that are bendy
  8. the thousands of books that share our home
  9. my tribes, communities, extended family and kin
  10. having a great job where I can play with different ideas every week
  11. always having a plan b –  being prepared
  12. embracing happiness and writing about it
  13. making art, making love
  14. abandoning certainty
  15. knowing I am loved and cherished

Try your own list. Make it some random number of things like 3, 5, 7, 10 or some number that is personally meaningful. Go on. You know you want to.


Copyright 2012 R Loader all rights reserved

Being passionate

I just found this terrific quote about love and passion, and about how passion ignites our imagination, from Joss Whedon, and it inspired me to think about what passion means to me. It is red. Passion is sex and creativity, energy and vitality. It is about being alive, about all the brain cells firing…feelings running wild like lightning, inspiring us to move, move move. To me it is that voice in the back of my brain saying “do something, do something”, anything. Make stuff. Make love. Make art. Make connections.

Passion, it lies in all of us, sleeping… waiting… and though unwanted… unbidden… it will stir… open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us… guides us… passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love… the clarity of hatred… and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion maybe we’d know some kind of peace… but we would be hollow… Empty rooms shuttered and dank… – Joss Whedon

I cannot imagine life without connection, without passionate, committed opinions about things. I am a definite kind of person; guess I have been for as long as I can remember, even as a little girl. Almost especially as a little girl. I love storytellers and tales about heroes, and I love the story about the young person making their way in the world, growing into it, becoming someone unexpected. All of these tales have, as part of them, people who are willing to put their feelings on the line, to tell it like it is, to stand up for what they believe in. For me, that is one of the core things about happiness and love. For me, you are as defined by those things you stand against, as by those things you stand for. Standing against injustice, standing for honor and honesty and the struggle to be real. Those are the beginning of the things I care about.

And I care about the little stuff, because there is, in a sense, no little stuff. Being mean is not an option. One of my favorite movies is “Harvey”, and the character of Elwood P. Dowd. He says at one point that his mother had given him advice about there being two kinds of people in the world, ones who were oh so pleasant, and ones who were oh so clever. And he said he’d tried both, and preferred the former. I have a terrific friend who reminds me very much of this character. While she is wicked smart, she prefers to be pleasant. And that makes her great to be around. At the same time, she is very passionate about life, people and books. And that makes her even more fun.

Any time you can share praise, give honest appreciation, be kind to someone, you’re making another connection in the world, becoming a more passionate and connected person. I believe that to love deeply, it is important to be passionate, enthusiastic, and caring about the people you interact with in the world. Be passionate. Anything else lacks conviction.

Copyright 2012 R Loader all rights reserved

Attitudes of gratitude

There’s a fabulous book about gratitude by M J Ryan, Attitudes of Gratitude. I like it so much, I give copies to friends, recommend it, and keep a lending copy on hand as well. Go buy it. One of her first quotes is from Milton Erickson. He was an amazing M.D. who worked out useful things about how people think, and applied that knowledge to helping people make changes in their lives.

  • Life will bring you pain all by itself.
  • Your responsibility is to create joy.

She goes through the book giving examples of how to give and receive joy every day of your life. She talks about ways that gratitude erases worry, increases health, and enhances relationships, and it in this relationship area I want to focus today.

For years, my sweetie has put out vitamins for me in the morning, knowing that I stumble around for the first half hour, and likely would not open all the bottles to make decisions about what to take. This act of service, of thoughtfulness, tells me every day how much I am appreciated. It makes me grateful for the care, and the love in the gesture, especially as it is not something I take for granted. Every day, I walk to the same place in the kitchen and put on some tea, and right there is a dish (usually a pretty glass one) with my vitamins in it. it feels like am embrace; every day it makes me smile. Once I’ve taken the vitamins, I can go to my desk, and drink the tea while it is still hot.

During the day, we send notes in email, sometimes a picture or a link to a fun article. These are all ways of showing our appreciation for each other’s time. That way, when we see each other, we can be in the moment, and present.

Copyright 2012 R Loader all rights reserved