August 4, 2016

Love Is. {Poem}

Sandra-Henri-Photography-Couples DO NOT REUSE

Love is not always easy—sometimes it requires cutting through the glory and the gore.

That’s what it’s like supporting my partner through depression, unemployment, illness or grief. When he doesn’t feel on top and is being his own harshest judge. When he’s been off work for three weeks with pneumonia and I’m wrecked from looking after our kids singlehandedly. When the bills are mounting up but worry isn’t going to get them paid.

Rest and nurturing is all that is going to get him well. It’s waiting it out that will make him better.

Easier said than done when I feel myself ragged with broken sleep as our 8-year-old son succumbs to a chest infection. I look at the mouldy smears on the ceiling: is that why we have had this constant stream of sickness this winter? Or it is something else, some metaphysical lesson that I need to learn again and again? It may be neither. It may be both. My mind is hungry wanting answers and certainty.

I try and not resent my partner for being sick but sometimes I feel this rage and direct it at him. I want to remove it from our lives, like when I shaved my head after our second bubba was born and felt this burst of youthful rebellion and a delight when skimming my head on the water’s lip in the surf.

As the days go by and he doesn’t spring back to health, he falls silent. I know the signs.

“Talk to me, what are you feeling?” And he shakes his head and finally he says, “I feel depressed.” That familiar lump is back in my throat. He gets depressed and I get anxious. The old ghosts come out to play as we start the dance.

I feel alone standing on the edge of the hole looking down on him in his despair and part of me knows that as the virus takes hold of his lungs it starts to infect his thoughts. We’ve been here before and I admit I am travel weary. I try to hold on to a new story—a “now” story that is simply watching and holding his hand, staying right there and not catapulting scenarios of evictions, unemployment and single parentdom on to our future.

Today I choose love. To just stand here and remain connected. To admit that, yes, I hate sickness. I reel against it with every fibre of my pushy, driven being. I want to punch its stubbly face. But as I feel my blood boil, I also feel the fatigue that this road leads to.

So I sit and gently feel my fingertips kissing hairy patches on his hand. I notice the elegance of his long fingers. And I sit and breathe into the depths of my body, right into my tailbone. It feels like a tiger’s tail—firm, long and taut. I whisper quietly, “this too shall pass.” And I see a trace of a smile on his lips as he laughs at our son’s rude dance move.

Love is holding my hand
When I feel small
Rubbing my back
When I feel unsure

Love is standing bare
Shoulders back

Not the fancy dress
Or the pretty hair
But when my hair comes undone
My arms flail

Through the dark times
And you look into my soul
And I feel seen
Truly seen

Love is to see someone
At their lowest
And be there to quietly
hold their hand

To keep the faith
In your love
With an open heart
When the clouds
Darken the sunny sky

To feel safe
To let the guards down
The running and trying
To be
Other than you are

Love is letting it go
And even with fear
Trusting you are there
Always to brush my heart
With yours

In that place
Beyond words
The grind
The possessions
The bills

When all there is
Is feeling

A strength
A knowing
That our souls unite
And we are free


Author: Amy Wilson

Image: Sandri Henri Photography

Editor: Katarina Tavčar

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