Tag Archives: things we do for love

Things That Carry Love

Things That Carry LoveThere are many different ways to hug and hold the ones you love.
I had a daughter who loved to make books.
I have a mother who shows her love by knitting sweaters and crocheting blankets.
And then there’s my own thing: swaddling images of my beloved ones in ribbons of fluff and flowers, in Photoshop.
These three things all came together on Saturday before Mothers Day, when I was looking for the old baby sweaters my mother knit, to photograph and photo-shop them into softly wrapped layers around an old baby picture.

On Saturday, from way back on the top shelf of a closet, I pulled down a box labeled KIDS. There were no baby clothes inside but the box was filled with my kids’ artwork and school projects. Ones I don’t remember ever seeing. Back in the days when tiny crayoned booklets, Play-Dough creatures, and kids’ paintings turned up daily, I must have stashed away a bundle of kid-stuff without even looking at it. In the middle of the box I found a spring-bound book. On the first page was a colored-pencil picture that said, “to MOM.” Pages later, through tears, I came across this drawing that read, “dear mom I mist you I lof you.”

Marika’s books from her early years, full of bright renderings of cats, rabbits, angels and goddesses, were mostly made for me. For years, after she died, they kept popping up. In her attic loft. In my drawers. In corners of her room. Hidden away all over the house. I thought I’d already found them all. But Marika and I were both great at squirreling things away. Maybe next time I’m searching for some random thing, I’ll find another gift from her.

I still haven’t found the tiny beautiful sweaters my mother knit for my babies. They’re somewhere, carefully stowed away in a safe place. But something tells me this is all related to my need to envelope everyone and everything I love, and tuck them all snugly into cozy secure nests, in Photoshop.

How do you show your love? What do you keep that reminds you, you were loved?

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Things We Do For Love

Robin Botie of ithaca, New York, photoshops a valentine using an old photo of her daughter who died of leukemia.“Missing my beautiful boy so much, I want to die.” “I don’t want to go on living without my baby girl.” This is what I hear so often from grieving parents. It’s a feeling I remember. Not quite seven years ago, the death of my own child just about crushed the life out of me.

What helped me was being mindful of my new mission in life, the special role of keeping a place for my daughter here on earth. I had to continue to live so she could be remembered. I would carry her, what was left of her, until I, myself, had to be carried out of this world. It would be hard. It is hard. When you can no longer wrap your arms around the one you love, or send her extravagant care packages, you end up with love that has no place to go. Leftover love.

It brings me quivering to my knees, to think of what love makes us feel and do. Remarkable things, both minuscule and monumental, have been accomplished in the name of love. Great monuments have been built, magnificent works of art produced, races won, foes conquered. Generous funds have been donated to humanitarian causes. Because of love, lives are created; lives are destroyed; lives are altered, for better or for worse.

Love makes us talk to ghosts and sing to the moon. It makes us write words that melt others’ hearts. It gets us sending long letters into cyberspace. Trying to express our love, we wring our hearts out baking a cake, making an exceptional meal, or rubbing someone’s feet. Love makes us come home; it makes us leave home. It keeps some returning again and again to the person who beats them. Love blinds us to what we don’t want to know; and allows us to see beauty where no one else can. It makes us live on the edge of a dare; it makes us want to die.

Look at all the energy gathered, even in the wake of love’s loss. What will you do with your leftover love?

Dragging and dropping an old photo of my daughter into Photoshop, I paste a bed of bright geraniums around her. And hug her image with ribbons and roses, and anything I can come up with that reminds me of how love feels during the best times. I’m holding on with all my might to whatever is left of my daughter, to my love for her. Through the whole spectrum of love’s emotions, from happiness to pain, from pain to happiness, I stop at a million points in between. I wish I knew how to help the ones who say they don’t want to live without their loved one. The only thing I know for sure is love can rip your reserves to shreds. Or it can fuel your most magnificent dreams.

 

What did you, or do you, do in the name of love?

 

 

 

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