“Pain is Love” a misunderstood quote

My friend has this quote tattooed on his arm and I always thought it was cynical and negative, and honestly quite sad. But as I step into the new year, I’ve been thinking about it, and I get it now. The article below says it so much better than me so please read it, but I will grab some highlights for you that resonated with me in particular.


Love is painful, because it transforms you. Love is growth.

Love means the death of the ego, because love cannot be controlled.

To suffer in love is not to suffer in vain; it takes you to higher levels of consciousness.

The transformation we all go through is from control of the mind to vulnerability of the heart.

With love, the ego drops and the soul arises. Love is food for the soul.

Go through the dark night and you reach a beautiful sunrise.

This song just came on, and the line “hell will always come before you grow” captured my ear

update: after some consideration, I think the expression should be pain from love…it hurts because of the love we have for one another…

Grief 5 Years Later…

I’ve experienced a lot of loss in my family, my husbands family, classmates, community members…but the loss of my dear friend Laura was the roughest on me (sorry mom). When you choose to bring a person into your circle, into your life, it’s got a different significance than who you happen to have in your life already.

Laura was kind, thoughtful, but also down to earth and flawed. She held her flaws close, but shared them with me from the beginning…we had a comfort with each other almost right away that was easy. I’ll never forget the evening she told me about the lump in her neck…

We were having dinner together on an early November evening. She had the roasted garlic potato soup and I had the pumpkin ravioli. We chatted quite a while and when I noticed the lump on her neck, she said she’d have it checked as soon as her insurance kicked in in January. While I completely understood waiting for financial reasons, I told her not to let it go longer than that. But that evening, I had the thought: it’s cancer and she’s going to die. I can’t explain it, to have not just a feeling, but the sure and certain knowledge of what was to come was overwhelming. Sure enough, the doctor saw her on a Wednesday in January and took it out two days later on his lunch break, telling her he was 99% sure it was cancer. From there, scans and tests and chemo…and by July she was cancer free. But she struggled to shake a cough, taking steroids to reduce inflammation changed her appearance and did little to help..In October, they did a biopsy of her lungs, and she was hospitalized for good after that. Early November brought news that she wasn’t conscious, relied on a ventilator, and had an uphill battle. I knew she would not come back to us, I knew that life had been too hard for her, that she didn’t want to fight anymore, and that she knew letting go was the kindest thing her family could do for her. Her paperwork was quite clear: after two weeks on a ventilator, with no signs of improvement, she was to be taken off life support. She only lasted a week on the machines, her body just couldn’t keep going.

Laura was one of the most perfect imperfect people I’ve ever met. She was nurturing and gentle, and a dear friend. I’ve been finally allowing people into my heart again, and though I’ve been hurt, I’ve also been healed. I’m not much for heaven and all that, but I believe she is with me, and that she sent me a couple of wonderful people to help fill the Laura-shaped hole in my heart.

My husband’s response to my unraveling…

It seems only fitting that I write this today, after all it’s our 19th wedding anniversary.

He’s always been wonderful, spoils me, gives me room to be me, and makes me feel loved. But this last year, maybe longer, he’s been especially…adaptive, flexible, appropriately responsive, and steady (among other things, but these are the words I choose to add today).

In the interest of keeping this post from being reallllllly long, I’m going to make a list of issues and his responses as opposed to telling about each mini crisis…but if there’s anything you’re wondering, please comment, and as always, feel free to share any of my posts that you feel may reach someone!

  • Miscarriage: my last one threw me into a downward spiral, and he could tell I needed to brood. He gave me space to do that. He also gave me room to cry and be cranky without taking it personally.
  • Many naps: Depression can make you sleepy, and many evenings and weekends, I would disappear to my room to take a nap. This often meant he was doing dinner and the kid on his own, which wasn’t typical, but he never complained. He would wake me for dinner occasionally or wake me to do my evening meds, and he never made me feel bad about it.
  • Avoiding gatherings: whenever I felt like skipping a nieces birthday party or dinner with my folks, he would always make me feel okay about it and go on his own. It was just what I needed. He always made the appropriate excuses or apologies for me, and never made me feel like I was doing something wrong.
  • Depression: the loss of interest and apathy, he always tried to be honest without being selfish or manipulative or shaming. He was open to suggestions and discussion or silence and inaction.
  • Therapy appointments and bills: He worries about money, it’s just how he is wired, but from the very beginning, he never once complained about the cost of therapy and medications that I’ve needed. He has been incredibly supportive of my therapy appointments and subsequent need for a nap or a good cry afterwards.
  • New friendship with a guy: This is the big one, because for some reason, this guy I became friends with was able to reach me in a way my husband couldn’t. I had been down for a long time, sleepwalking through my life after my best friend passed. And though Phil supported me the best he could at the time, it was someone outside of our daily life that was able to reach me. And it was weird for Phil at first, I was so excited to have a new friend that made me think and feel things again, that it came across as something else…he would tease me about having a boyfriend, but I always knew I could be honest with my husband and I was. I said, “yes, it seems like that to you, but it’s a nice feeling to know that someone, who isn’t in my circle of responsibility, wants to hear what I have to say.” I reminded him that the flirty side he said he saw was just excitement at the thought of a new friend, since I’ve always struggled with friendships in the past. My amazing husband accepted that, said it was still weird to him but ok. He was okay that this man, who wasn’t him, helped me feel engaged in my life, he was okay that this man helped me to see I needed therapy, and he was okay that I leaned on someone else for awhile. He was even okay when I was sad that this friend hurt my feelings. And he was even okay when I talked about how my friends wife was jealous of our friendship. My husband empathized with her situation, but still gave me room to have him in my life.

And in turn for all of his adaptations and patience, I’m getting better all the time. Giving me all that support made it possible to move through some darkness and walk out into the light feeling strong and well. Our relationship is steadily improving, not that it wasn’t good, but after all these years, it’s important to reconnect. We are preparing for next years big anniversary with a party, and we are both happier and focusing on us again. He’s amazing and I’m grateful for the wonderful partner that I have by my side.