After All, Love Is Love

Separating from Jillian still feels like perpetually chopping off one of my legs, even after two years. Rarely at this stage of my life does love affect me on such a deep and pure level. Her friendship has indelibly tattooed my heart and soul. Nurtures and enriches me. Asks me to be a better and more trusting person. 

Such sadness I feel knowing the chance of our spending time together again is iffy. Yet that sadness is all mixed up with gratitude for a love that reminds me that I’m still capable of loving and being loved. Honestly, I rarely think of her without choking back sobs.

In fact, it’s impossible for me to separate this love from the deep love I feel for others. After all, love is love.

Those I am no longer able to touch, Michael, Winson, Lolo, the Beast. Those still within my reach. Kathy S. and Jannie, who nourish me in one way or another every day. Carmen, Peaches, Sparky, Michelle, Court, Connie, Yvonne, Tex, Annie. Even you, Johnny boy, you who thinks he doesn’t love me. And most recently, my writing sensei. 

Love requires more forgiveness than I’m sometimes capable of. But the incredible thing about love is that it always allows room for improvement and growth. Stretching. My abiding friendship with Kathy S. is testament to that. 

Forgive this crude analogy, but there are times I miss Michael so much I could vomit. And he’s been gone almost 20 years. We taught each other the meaning of having one another’s back. We could always lean in and stay as long as needed. 

I think the reason Jillian touches me on such a deep level is because she embodies the soul of a nurturer. She and Jannie loved me daily through cancer. That’s a boatload of nourishment. 

When I was 11 years old, after being sick and throwing up over an extended period of weeks, my mother, annoyed, scolded me threateningly. “If you throw up one more time, I’m going to take you to the doctor.” Of course I did throw up again, she did take me to the doctor, who announced that I had viral pneumonia.

That was the extent of my mother’s nurturing capabilities. 

All my life I have been starved for that nourishment, often expecting too much from any one person. I have an image of myself as one of those desperately isolated, untouched monkeys in a lab cage. That reeks of self pity, but the truth must be acknowledged. Keep in mind, with spiritual guidance, and noteworthy faltering along the way, I went out and discovered what I needed. You, my loved ones. 

P.S.: Kathy S., Jannie, Johnny, and especially you, Beast, our stories have not yet surfaced, but rest assured, they will.

 

The South