When I first started writing, I was at a loss as to why I believed in love. Because I have experienced a lot of loss in my life through death and the failure of many relationships, I have in a way lost sight of what a real intimate relationship is at this point. My head and heart feel very far apart and very heavy. And at times, I am not sure I know how to love anymore.
I lost my mom at fifteen, and I never wanted to feel that feeling again. She literally died in my arms, she squeezed my hand and left. My mom was my oasis and without her present in my growing up years I probably wouldn’t have done all the drugs I did. If she was here today, my whole life might have been different.
A few of my best friends have crossed over to the other side as well. All died way too young.
And growing up with a very rocky relationship with my father has led me to look for love in other places, too often the wrong places.
But when I think more about it, I do know that love does exist, for the simple fact my heart is bigger than I like to show. I feel the pain of loss, which proves to me that there really was love there in the first place. Because if I had never loved, I’d never feel hurt. At times I’ve tried to stop myself from loving and made myself numb, but numbing yourself isn’t always good either, because out of the numbness you can end up just putting yourself back in a bad relationship and then you end up hurt all over. Letting ourselves love makes our hearts bigger and our lives more meaningful.
I know this because there have been times in my life when I have been loved. I have a man who I call “father” who took me as his own—when I had nowhere to go he took me in, fed me, walked with me through the ups and downs of heroin addiction, and really put himself out there for me.
I had friends who looked out for me to the point of being my big brothers. We were each other’s shadows: we worked together, hung out together, goofed off together. And their deaths taught me an important lesson: hold all your loved ones and friends close because if you don’t embrace them while they are here, when something happens to them all you can do is beg and plead God to bring them home to you! I know I will not be able to hold them in my arms anytime soon but through God they will always be close to my heart.
There are still times that I break down remembering this pain in my life. But I believe in love, because love was given to me when I didn’t have any left to give.
Now I have to take my guardian angels—those friends and family who have passed and whom have my whole heart—carry them with me, and rely on their strength to get me through. The love I feel for those I’ve lost proves to me that love does exist. In one sense I have never felt so alone and empty because of the losses I have suffered, but at the same time I have never felt so much love, strength, and closeness to those I love. Even though I recently moved to a new city, where I am a stranger, I thank God every day that I never walk these dark streets alone: I have a crowd of angels surrounding me at all times everywhere I go. In all that I have been through, I know that I am not alone and never have been—that is why I believe in love.