The Last Romantic

And if your heart should break my love I will reach in and give you mine. Anything you need you can have. Take it.

I will take your pain and fears and hold back the world with my bare hands so you can find peace in my arms.

The years will never harm you or change the way I look at you. You are heaven to my teary eyes and my broken dreams.

Your voice is all that I will ever need and all that is truly good in this world.

I can feel whatever you are feeling, I can hear your thoughts and fears.

You will never know one moment of loneliness while I live and breathe. I will lay awake and listen to breathe and find comfort knowing you are sleeping and in peace.

And if it is possible to love you more after I am gone, I will do that my love. I will find a way to write my love for you in the stars so when you look up you will know I am there.

And I hope that we will find our way back to each other somehow because our love is stronger than the forces of the universe and longer than time itself.

– Autoimmunitygirl

As another Valentines Day approaches I thought it would be appropriate to think about the topics of love and romance and how it is quite ironic that for most of my life I had never really understood romance and intimacy at all, however I have never encountered real love and romance as closely as I have since my illnesses became far more invasive.

It seems so strange that as my body became less physically able yet my ability to experience closeness became so much deeper!

In the past love was simply words that were used in a sentence. A polite way of speaking to someone, or a phrase with no real meaning or substance attached. Until it slowly began to have real meaning and have real actions attached. I was sure that as soon as I could no longer be the giver and provider that my relationship would fall apart like all the others. Thankfully I was wrong.

Perhaps it was because of these terrible illnesses that I have been given the chance to see what real love and loyalty is? Perhaps I have been given far more time to ponder what love truly is, and so I have had many more opportunities to see real love in action? … Whatever the reason is I am very grateful that I have this knowledge to guide me through the hardest of times.

In the past love had always meant pain, confusion and rejection and therefore I had learned to put a wall between me and intimacy and to not trust people with my feelings or thoughts. This was possible whilst I was well enough to take care of myself and be independent enough and it seemed like a safe place to live; despite always feeling quite lonely and misunderstood.

Time went on and love became more of an ideal and a movie title than a real presence in my life. I also believed that most people must live in a similar manner with the odd bit of sentimentality thrown in. I heard words like love but I never felt it.

All that time I still hoped that there might be more to the story and that there may even be a wonderful revelation someday, but it always seemed to be more like a mirage. Meanwhile relationships were falling apart around me, even friendships seem to break under the slightest strain.

Sometimes I thought I had come close to finding love and true connections on a few occasions but I now understand that what I had really experienced were merely lessons. Lessons about love and intimacy are just as important to me as finding that deeper connection I looked for in life. Like clues to a puzzle.

I can honestly say that at a certain point I stopped looking or entertaining the thought that I would ever find what some people seemed to already possess. True love.

When I first met my husband I don’t believe that there were fireworks or lighting bolts of feelings, we simply started as friends. I honestly didn’t know that this was going to be true love. But slowly we shared ideas, thoughts, goals, likes, dislikes, questions, challenges and disappointments. Slowly we began to understand more about each other. It had become a warm and safe place from the world. It was our place.

True love feels to me like a place in many ways. A place far away from all that happens in the world around us. A private and precious place.

It’s strange how some great things can grow from tiny beginning, it always seems so cliched to say, but it’s nevertheless true in my case. Love had started to grow, but for me and it would take time and lots of tests to truly become strong.

I think a pivotal moment was when I realized that I trusted this person. I trusted him to care for us more than he cared for himself. I trusted him to respect me and my wishes, to respect us. I trusted him with my hopes and goals and I finally I trusted him with my feelings and failings!

This is love.

Finally, as my health declined I was so surprised that my value didn’t seem to alter to him. It was amazing! Almost everyone else I knew seemed to lose interest or value for me when I didn’t do things for them or help them in some way. It is strange how I only became aware of these behaviors only after I felt real love. It’s like living in the dark all your life and then someone turns a light on! So much is revealed.

Some of the hardest parts of illness is having to face your true self and your new limitations. With the aid of real love I have been able to slowly do this and yet still feel like more of a person and not less of a person.

It is truly life changing.

I believe that if you can accept and truly love yourself when you are not in your best physical circumstances or your least lovable than you can love yourself in any state possible! If you can look at yourself struggling and in pain and say I value and respect myself than no one can ever lessen you as a person or make you feel unworthy. You have made a stronger person and a deeper love despite whatever else has taken place inside your body.

Today, to my continual surprise, my husband never looks at me as though I am not worthy and he never speaks to me as if I were not his best friend. My body has weakened and changed but our relationship has deepened and strengthened. He never looks at me as what I should be or what I once was. I am always important and worthy, regardless of what life had done. I can’t say that about anyone else I have ever known.

I now look at magazines and news headlines with smiling couples on the covers and flashy headlines pronouncing love at last and I wonder to myself what kind of love have they truly found? Will it survive sadness, illness, pain, suffering, financial collapse and mistakes? Will it survive anything and everything and still manage to grow from the ashes? Only true love can do that. Only true love lasts.

Real Illness and disability doesn’t happen in isolation, not in the this society. With illness comes pain, hurt, doubt, financial stress, isolation, loss of identity, mistakes and confusion and so relationships and love are tested in more ways than any other relationship will ever be. In these times we learn how much our partners really love us, how much our friends really love us, how much our family really love us and how much we really love ourselves.

It is for all these reasons that I can say that it is because of these illnesses and diseases that I really have discovered true love and I have found romance and intimacy in a way that I never had before.

I take nothing for granted anymore and I find meaning in the smallest of things. I think that is what belies real romance in that it is what radiates from real love. Anything can be romantic when it comes from someone who really loves you!

Happy Valentines Day 💕

Gentle hugs,

Trish

5 thoughts on “The Last Romantic

  1. I resonate so deeply with this. Chronic illness invaded who I was physically and mentally so deeply that I became a stranger to myself, and in rediscovering myself I discovered empathy on such a level that I feel so deeply now. I only hope one day there will be a valentine to accept me as fully as I accept them. Chronic illness can often make you feel wary of burdening someone else when they weren’t in on it from the beginning with you.

    Like

    1. I am always so pleased when a connection is made and I thank you for taking the time to respond.
      I blog to share my thoughts but I always love hearing other people’s experiences too xxx

      Like

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