Ed Sheeran’s Afire Love is one of my favorite songs. I can rarely listen to it and not get a little teary eyed.
V. 1 Things were all good yesterday
And then the devil took your memory
And if you fell to your death today
I hope that heaven is your resting place
I heard the doctors put your chest in pain
But then that could have been the medicine
There you are lying in the bed again
Either way I’ll cry with the rest of them
V. 2 Things were all good yesterday
Then the devil took your breath away
Now we’re left here in the pain
Black suit black tie standing in the rain
And now my family is one again
Stapled together with the strangers and a friend
Came to my mind I should paint it with a pen
6 years old I remember when
I lost two grandparents to memory related diseases, so this song really hits home for me. If you have never listened to the song I would recommend it. You can listen to it here, just make sure you bring a box of tissues.
Family is a weird concept. Family can mean the people we are born with, the people we are married to, our extended family, our immediate family, or friends who feel like family. There many definitions, and angles, and possibilities, and people to what a family can be. All of which leaves slightly overwhelmed and lost in what our family actually is.
It has not been an easy few years for my family. Although I don’t think any of us would claim it has been hard, it has defiantly not been easy. Just when we thought that we made it, that we would be okay, our sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, and wife left.
How do you begin to explain to your wide eyed and way to young nieces and nephews that she just isn’t coming back?
Losing a family member is painful. Having a family member intentionally leave you is worse. A ghost appears, haunting you in the spaces that they use to fill. Reminders of them are like knives that cuts through our hearts just when you think it has healed from the shattering.
We go through the stages of grief, sometimes forwards, sometimes backwards.
Stages of sadness;
Stages of anger;
Stages of confusion;
Sometimes all of these stages at once mixed with unrelenting demand for the answers we know we can never have.
So how do we cope? How do we move on so that we can begin to love again? How are we suppose to open up our hearts again when they already feel so rubbed raw?
My family recently got together for my niece’s dedication. We filled up two rows at church just like we always do when we are all together. It is a beautiful thing. I was in the back corner of our mob, and I just watched my family interact with each other.
The pastor was talking about marriage and building a foundation of love that will last. The whole time I just watched the way that they loved each other. I thought about the foundation may parent’s molded into our lives. The type of foundation that was weathered, but still stood strong.
It was then that I knew we would be okay. Better than okay, because somehow through all of the anger, sadness, and confusion we had found each other. We had learned what it means to be a family. A family who had arms to welcome us home and shoulders to cry on. A family that absorbed each other into our lives fluidly as we came and went. A family that taught me about love, the real kind of lasting love.
They taught me that love is learning to rely on each other, like clinging to a tree when all of the ground is crumbling underneath your feet.
Love is fighting for someone when the other person isn’t strong enough to fight for themselves.
Love is open arms with open hearts, even if those hearts are still a little raw.
Love is family, no matter what definition that may be.