The inspiration of love

by Jim Young, LDHH-H volunteer

Titus, the beloved family dog

Titus, the beloved family dog

It has been quite some time since I have put my thoughts to paper, and the last time was when I lost my first grandchild.  There have been many joyous times since this loss: the union of family at Christmas, walking my daughter down the aisle in her wedding, and the announcement by my son and his lovely bride that there is another child on the way and all is going well with this pregnancy.  So many wondrous things to write about but still no words until now.  So why are my thoughts just now flowing once more?

Truth tells me I didn’t want to find the inspiration in anything; I didn’t want to write of love, gratitude, honor, thankfulness, even the unity of family and friends, anything to do with any of those happy moments I have recently embraced.  So again I ask myself, why do I want to write now?  In searching my thoughts for these answers I finally realized what was going on.  February 16 is the upcoming one-year anniversary of the death of my old friend Titus.

Titus was my beloved German Shepherd that had to be put down because of cancer.  It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, but one that needed to be made.  I remember the look Titus gave me as the drugs were taking effect, a look of confusion, and a moment of desperation trying to stay on his feet as the sedative they gave him was forcing him to the floor.  These difficult memories are still fresh in my mind and the hurt has not seemed to ease when I remember that final moment with my friend.

With all the happiness that love brings to our lives, how can love hurt so much, especially when the ones we love are in pain or agony?  Why does love take our emotions to both ends of the spectrum?

In death, happiness and heartache are entwined in a single moment.  We are happy our loved one is no longer suffering but we are saddened we must go on without the special presence that has graced our lives.  Maybe this is the penalty of love.  For when you love with all of your heart, you open your heart not only to the joys of love, but also the sadness, even the terror of love.

How love can be terrifying, you ask?  It is when our struggles in life are overwhelmed by our struggles with death; death conquering life instead of death negotiating with life.  Maybe this is why I have come to truly appreciate the efforts give by the staff at HPCCR.  At HPCCR, the struggles of life are met with compassion and life submits itself to death with peace and dignity.

But what about love?  Where does love fit in the equation of hospice?  The answer is that love fits everywhere.  From the staff to the volunteers, every effort is given with love, with the goal of achieving comfort for all.

So, maybe this is why I am writing now.  To remember not the agony, pain, or even the terror of love, but to remember the sacrifices given in the name of love.  This is the true essence of love: love surrendering hope for peace.  That was what I found on the floor at the vet almost a year ago.  And what I found after learning of the grandchild I would never hold.  I found peace.  And I will never stop searching for the inspiration of love.

Explore posts in the same categories: awareness, end of life, hospice, volunteering

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