When will I stop hurting?

“Do you like what you do?” she asked me.

“I write about happy things,” I said.

“Wait a minute.  I’ve read your work.  You made me cry sometimes,” she said.

“That makes me happy,” I replied.

“Well, that’s sick,” she said smiling.

“I don’t make people cry by hurting them.  They often cry from the hurt they have already. When I first started writing, people would reply telling me that they cried.  I wrote back every time to apologize until I one day realized what a privilege it was.”

She still looked at me oddly.

“You see, something I was inspired to write touched someone in such a way as to draw from them an emotion.  They, the reader, actually permitted me, trusted me to enter into their very being that day and release the pain or joy associated with my story.”

“So, I let you in?”

“No, God did.  He used that moment to connect us.  There was something you needed to feel and something He wanted me to say.”

“Then why do we hurt so much?”

“Love.”

How much we hurt is often in relationship to how much we love.  The same can be said about happiness.  How much happiness there is in our lives depends on how much love we have not only for those around us, but for life itself.

Like the death of a loved one.

Such loss is a pain we all endure many times in our lives.  Why?  Because we love. But the great thing about love is, it never ceases, even after the final goodbye.

Love continues.  It does not cease to exist because someone has died.  I believe it is not the memory of someone gone, but the love of someone that sustains us.  Love is more than remembering.  Love is first a decision of the mind and then a commitment of the heart.

A few years ago, someone wrote to me asking “When will I stop hurting?”

At that time there seemed to be a number of people who were struggling with loss.

I have recently become aware that some of my “friends I’ve never met,” are hurting.

Permit me to share that story with you again:

When will I stop hurting?

By Bob Perks

“I lost a loved one nearly a year ago. When will I stop hurting?”

The question was simple but difficult to answer. She was challenging me. I wanted to help her, but I knew that only she could answer that question.

Whenever someone writes to tell me about a death, I always talk about the difficult months ahead. I refer to it as a “Year of Firsts.” The first holiday, birthday, anniversary, summer picnic or other personal event without that loved one.

Then there are those little things you never really paid attention to before, but now find a gaping hole right in the middle of your day. Like the time they woke up each morning, how they had their coffee, the sound the door made around dinner time when they arrived home and the way they said “hello.”

But there was something about this message today that made me stop and really think about what I needed to say. Oddly, I decided that the pain she was feeling was a good thing, but I wasn’t sure she wanted to know that.

Here is exactly what I wrote to her: When will you stop hurting? That is a measure of the love you shared and how does one measure love? By remembering them long after they are gone. “Memories” are the shadows of a life well lived that remain long after the light of their being has gone out. May you never forget. “Pain” is the echo of remembering those special moments when all the world belonged to the both of you. The day will come when the pain of remembering turns into understanding the privilege of ever having them in your life at all. Remembering will be a joy. Although the pain is great at times you are reminded still, how very much you loved and were loved.

May the rest of your life be a reflection of that love and when your time comes may your passing cast long shadows for all who loved you, too.

Bob Perks

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My final thought . . .

When I die . . .

Bury me not in a cold dark grave.  Bury me deep within your heart.  I will live forever there. – Bob Perks

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