Just When I Thought I knew What Love Was…

Growing up I thought to fall in love was easy; find a person you think is attractive, take them out to eat, get to know them, and then BAM, you’re in love. The relationships that I had, I thought love consisted of being able to get along and tolerate each other. As long as you respect each other and you can have good times, that’s what love has to be right? Love has to be finding your partner sexy and wanting to show them off to your family and friends. Yeah, that’s exactly what love is….right?

Well, that’s what I thought until I witnessed the ultimate display of love over the course of 18 plus months, and it has been in front of my face my entire life. I guess I was just in too much of a hurry to be in love myself that I didn’t take the time out to see what love actually looks like.

May 14, 2013, my father was diagnosed with Stage 3 liver and pancreatic cancer. At the moment, not knowing what that means I asked myself that very question…”what does that mean to us, our family?”

Thinking that we were untouchable and stuff like “cancer” only happens to people around us, family and friends alike, but no, not my father. Who would haveguessed that the man who married a woman who dealt with a lifetime of pain and sorrow herself, due to this haunting terrorist that seemed to follow everyone she loved everywhere she went. When my mother was the 11 years old, her mother passed from cancer, and throughout the next 25 years lost five brothers and sisters from the very same disease. A few months prior to the discovery of my father’s illness she lost her nephew to Lynch Syndrome, which is also a type of cancer. So nowhere on that side of the family tree did we slightly even think my father was even a possible candidate to this disgusting illness. That kind of heartache can very well kill the spirit of a person, but instead of giving up and surrendering to the storm that was to come, they embraced it. They embraced it even with knowing that there will be extremely gut-wrenching difficult times, where questioning God’s compassion may be in order. They came together stronger than I have ever seen before; I already knew they had an unbreakable bond, that now has turned into unconquerable love. Each day that went by I witnessed more kisses and “I love you”s than I heard in 90’s R&B. Then the chemo started to kick in and weakness began. Passing out, collapsing, and being unable to be comfortable enough to walk without someone there left hurt smiles in the only eyes she has ever loved, but cried in the only arms she felt safe in. Waking up every morning seeing more and more hair on the pillow and less and less of his strength, she stood strong enough for the both of them. When he battled depression she did things that only she could do to make him smile. Although she hid her pain well she knew that this was taking a toll on her heart, so with tears being held back and his voice cracking from the knots in his throat,he would still find ways to crack a joke even if it was for a second of distraction. They both didn’t know much about this cancer, But based off what the doctors have told them, they knew to do everything they ever wanted to do, because there wouldn’t be much more time to do so. With that said, every moment between them consisted of a hug that lasted a little longer and just a little tighter each time. Kisses that pushed in tighter and grabbed closer with every attempt, and “you are my everything’s” that were heard clearly, but were repeated just so they can get their point across. Love isn’t about tolerance. It’s about knowing that life with you is so much better than life without you. In fact, a life without you just isn’t a life at all.

My advice to everyone who is in a rush to find that perfect job and be with the perfect person. Take a second, take a step back before life passes you by, because time moves faster than you think. Before you know it, years have passed and you overlooked not the perfect person that never existed, but the perfect person for you. The person who would do anything to be your rock when you need. The person who looks at you with the most loving eyes as if you can do no wrong. The person who knowsthat you too are far from perfect, but a life with you is a life of perfect imperfections.

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