Saturday, April 26, 2008


True Love

The phrase "true love" is often used. I now wonder whether some of those who use it have a deep understanding of what true love means. I think I know the meaning. In my case, it is the feeling I have for my late wife, with whom I was married for more than 57 years. She's gone and I miss her. I know now that I truly loved her.

True love does not necessarily give happiness. In my case, it gives me a sense of loss and grief. When my wife was alive and in good health, I loved her but I didn't have the understanding I now have of the meaning or the implications of that love. In fact, we occasionally disagreed and quarreled. We lost our tempers, then made up. Making up was pleasant, probably the most pleasant experiences of our life together.

During the twilight weeks of her life we had home hospice care for her. The same hospice organization now provides groups of men and women who are grieving for recently lost spouses. I am a member of one such group. It meets once a week for about an hour and a half. We exchanged stories of feelings of grief and loneliness, stories of experiences with our spouses in past years, and advice to each other about whether it is acceptable to grieve and how and when and whether and how to share our griefs with our children. The group is a good thing. We never speak of love, but it is obvious that we all loved our spouses very much and miss them deeply. We all have vacant spaces in our lives that can never be filled. We look for activities and new acquaintances to divert our minds from these vacancies. We will not forget them. We will never stop missing our spouses, but we hope that we will be able to think of other things most of the time.

Sometimes I think that I have come too late to understand that I truly loved my wife. Did she understand my feeling for her? Did she have a corresponding feeling for me? I think so. She was very perceptive and understood many things better than I did.

Rabieb, I will always love you and miss you.

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