The Secret to Making Love Last.

Via Bryonie Wise
on Sep 6, 2014
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hands woman fingers wring

It happens out of the blue and not often at all these days; a scent in the air, a sound in the sky or a moment of doubt serves as a secret passage into my memory chamber and I can feel this need, this want, this I’m-not-sure-how-to-describe-it feeling for someone I miss.

(Do you have that too? The desire to be held by someone who was once, and who will always be, somehow, even if they are no longer here on earth?)

I used to shy away from these memories and shove them deeper into the crevices of my body and then I discovered that words (just like movement) are medicine and by writing it out, slowly, over time, I could heal the parts of me that felt broken.

And so, the summer had a melancholic way to her, at times—and this is what I’m learning, still.


I want you to be the knock at my door and when you walk in, catch me in your arms so I can crumble.

You will tell me that everything is going to be okay (eventually) even if right now it doesn’t feel okay, and you will wipe the tears from my red, ravaged eyes and hold me closer still.

You will not comment on how I smell or the state of my hair; in your arms, I will soften, until the weight of me settles into the trust of your comfort.

You will tell me to get on the couch, and even though it’s a thousand degrees, you will pull the comforter you bought for me a long time ago from the chest that traveled over oceans to get here and I will wrap myself up and feel held by something bigger.

You will fuss around the tiny kitchen of this tiny apartment that you will never see, commenting on a small detail that only you will notice because I am your daughter, still, as you make me something that only you could. It will be the right thing for this moment and I will want to say thank you a hundred different ways, but the words will be stuck in my throat and instead, more tears will fall, and I will know by your presence that I am not alone or too weird or a freak or a failure in this moment of life.

And, even though I will have a hard time accepting the truth is not the one I tell myself, I will believe you, because you gave birth to me and knew me like no other.

When I wake up from a nap that resets my pulse, you will tell me who you were (really), what you were afraid of (really) and the secret to making love last ; you will show me your wild nature and you will tell me what it’s like to grow a life inside your body, and you will let all the things fall from your ruby lips and I will collect them, one by one.

Like little nuggets of gold, your wisdom and I don’t think you knew that then, but I know it now.

I will stash them safely away, into the corners of my heart for a day darker than this one.


So she was, for a long time—and, for a time that grows longer by the second, she isn’t anymore and I wonder if the first 30 years of my life were a mirage of some kind. Maybe I dreamt of her making heart-shaped pancakes on Valentine’s Day, or short-sheeting our beds after a weekend away and maybe I even made up the way her eyes would sparkle as she tilted her head back to laugh at the sky.

To keep her alive without holding too tight, I dip my toe into the places that still ache—the wounds have long grown over with weeds and I’ve learned to trust the woman that I’ve become and without this deviation in the path, who knows who I would be if she were here now.

The list of never-ending of questions that swirl around like my own personal cloud of wonder would take a lifetime for her to answer and so instead of her voice whispering in my ear, I pose my questions to God and sit in stillness while she teaches me the way.

There is nothing we can do that can alter what has come before; we cannot put words back into our mouths, we cannot unsay what we’ve said.

And, I cannot go back and remove the cancer before it removed her and I cannot change the bomb her death set off in our small family, sending us each to the farthest corners of where we started, so close, but in truth, so far.

Her absence is stronger than her presence ever was and I know that in my daydream, I imagine her as I would like her to be, now, to match who I am, now.

We would sit in the garden, just as we used to way back before the end of time, woman-to-woman, mother-and-daughter, over a picnic of tiny champagne grapes, smelly, oozing cheese and an array of crackers, washed down by a perfectly chilled bottle of bubbles. We would unearth the secrets we held back from each other then, not shy now, because time and life have made us wiser than we ever were before.

I remember all the things I can possibly reach with rose-colored glasses because what is almost worse than the hole she left behind is the thought that I hurt her in her time here, for as we grow from tiny humans into adult ones, in our confusion of trying-to-figure-it-all-out, we can be selfish and cruel, for we are only human, too, and full of mistakes.

What will never change is the knowledge that I came from love, and to love, I return.

(And so maybe the secret to making love last is found here, just where she left it, wrapped in the heart in my chest, the one she planted so long ago.)


“I had lines inside me, a string of guiding lights. I had language. Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines. What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination. I had been damaged, and a very important part of me had been destroyed—that was my reality, the facts of my life. But on the other side of the facts was who I could be, how I could feel. And as long as I had words for that, images for that, stories for that, then I wasn’t lost.” 

Jeanette Winterson


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Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Chiara Cremaschi via Flickr


About Bryonie Wise

Bryonie’s life is rooted in the belief that when we come from a place of love, anything is possible. When not teaching yoga or writing her heart to the bone, she can be found frolicking in the sunshine with her camera & her dog, Winston, living her yoga. Stay in the loop of all her magical happenings, connect with her on Facebook, TwitterInstagram—& maybe even add her first book, HEART ROAR: A Book of Tiny Prayers to your collection.


13 Responses to “The Secret to Making Love Last.”

  1. Lori Weber says:

    Beautifully written, brought me to tears. I, too, shared that love with my mother who was taken from me by cancer at her young age of 66.

  2. DanaGornall says:

    You are a beautiful person inside and out and I know in my heart she would be so proud. <3

  3. SaraCrolick says:

    this. thisthisthisthisthis (is magic). love you to the moon and back, sister.

  4. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    Thank you Lori. Oh, how our hearts ache. Much love to you.

  5. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. xoxo

  6. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    (thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou) to the moon and back. xoxox

  7. Darla says:

    This was so beautifully written, it showed me that the feelings that I have are not only mine, but of all who had a wonderful mother raising them with all the love she could give. Thank you for sharing this.

  8. Tee says:

    This is quite lovely, and true and oh so painful. You are loved.

  9. "What will never change is the knowledge that I came from love, and to love, I return."

    Ohhhh, this is perfect. Maybe that's it. Maybe that's what gets us past the things we can't unsay or the things we waited too long to say. Either way, it's exactly right. xo

  10. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    Thanks so much Darla, for reading and for sharing. xo

  11. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    Thank you so much. xo

  12. laydowninthetallgrass says:


  13. lisa says:

    Your head and heart are completely in sync with mine. I have thought and felt ever word, wish, and desire but you've expressed it all so honestly, vulnerably, truthful, and poetically -I've kept it to myself. I know the feeling that no one else can provide the comfort and unconditoional love of Mom. When you talk of crumbling in her arms, who else will hold you up and help put you back together, or even know the right formula to do so. Only Mom. I want to crumble now if only I could have that knock at the door, I imagined and dreamed of it too, for years. Imagined sitting for lunch, taking time out to make something special because it would be such a gift to have one last chance to sit, talk, and be a peace and comfort with my Mom. It's hard to grasp the fact that the knock will never come. I also had regret. 20's are selfish years – designed to be that way so that you can be free to start a life of your own. My mom suffered from cancer throughout my 20's. I'd do it all different now – 15 years after her death, me now a women with my own children. I know priorities and my compassion and knowledge about seasons, life, and death has profoundly changes. Her last months and days would have been different. It's taken me years, and maybe to this point right here and now writting this, to know that because she was my mom, and I knew the love in her heart, I couldn't fall short in her eyes. She would see my mistakes, my innocence, and child nature, and love me still, no matter what. I tell my own daughters, "I love you still, always, no matter what, and more than you know."

    I pushed Mom away. My focus has been on TWO. painful, significant romantic love loses which is why I was drawn to the title of this article. I thought you meant the love of a man. Your article, poetry and heart song really!, has brought my attention back to Mom. To dig and bring her back to my forthought. Wanting to "crumble" into her with all this pain. It's confusing, and lonely, and it's been so long.

    I know that I am fortunate to have had all of the versions of love out there – unconditional and condition, romantic love. I am grateful to know those loves and am continuously reminded of impermanence and the need to have that idea ground me, with a focus on "what I have had, is still a part of me and lives on as love even without the other" – this though sits side by side with your beautiful statement: "What will never change is the knowledge that I came from love, and to love, I return."