Day 15, and the final entry in this years’ Days of Love series comes from my friend Brianna. She is incredibly funny, kind, and hard working. She is so talented and uses those talents to help others and make real change, and I so admire that about her. I picked her entry to end this year’s love posts because I think it is an important reminder that real love isn’t just a time of year or a day. Real love is love that shows up, any time, and every time it’s needed. Even if circumstances are heavy or hard. Even if we say we’re fine and tell people to stay away. Love is always on the clock.
“I have been thinking about what love is long and hard. When I think of how I came to know what true love really is I think of my mom teaching me how to cook, and be kind to others no matter what they are going through. I think of my dad dancing with me in the kitchen when I was little, and singing songs with me late at night. I think of my big brothers and their warm hugs and tender words of encouragment. My family was my first encounter with love, and they taught me a lot about how to I wanted to be loved and what I deserved.
Unfortunately, love isn’t easy all of the time. It isn’t easy to love the people you feel like you are supposed to love the most. A year and a half ago my big brother unfortuntly killed himself and my entire life felt like it was crumbling underneath me. I found myself questioning everything I ever did because maybe if I loved him harder things would have turned out different. I have never been more angry at another person because of all of the promises that were broken, and the heartbreak that came with losing someone who played such a big role in making me who I am today. The rest of this specific story is for a much different type of blog post so I will spare the details, but it did play an important role in what I beleive love is today.
Through this experience I was able to give hard, raw, and ugly love to the people who needed it the most. I held my mom’s hand while she cried. I sat with my big brother and talked about all of the late night video games they played when they were little while tears rolled down his cheeks. I hugged my dad while I watched him break down in my arms. I drove with my sister-in-law and listened to her talk about how much it broke her heart to see the man she loved lose his little brother. I played with my neice and nephew so that they didn’t have to remember their trip to Utah as only a trip full of tears and heartbreak. I tried to stay as strong as I could for the people who needed me to be strong.
This experience also taught me how to receive a different kind of love. A love that I have never experienced before. My best friend Madison woke up to a phone call that I hope I never have to receive myself. She rushed over and sat by my side while I cried. When I was done crying she took me to breakfast and we got french toast. She didn’t even care that I looked like a splotchy red monster who couldn’t breath through her nose. She helped me do things that my family needed me to do, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do. She cried WITH me on her couch. She sat with me until she had to pick her husband up from work.
After she left my friend Chris came to the rescue. He sat and held my hand while I stared off into space and didn’t say a word. Then my friend Brook showed up after I told her not to because she was spending the day up in Salt Lake with another friend. Then KaiLee showed up with doughnuts and drove me up to my dad’s house. Then Jen picked me up and brought me home and spent the night with me so that I didn’t have to be alone. She also helped plan an entire funeral so that my family could take the time they needed to grieve. These are just a few examples of the outpouring of love that came with losing my big brother.
I was overwhelmed with how many people were there for me during the hardest time of my life. These individuals taught me what it is to be a true friend. To love unconditionally through the good times and the bad. They each have a significant portion of my heart, and I owe them the world for everything that they did for me. I don’t think I can ever really explain how much I care for each of them, but until I figure out how to repay them for everything they have given me there is chocolate cupcakes and lots of hugs filled with love and eternal gratitude.
Love is more than laughing at stupid jokes late at night, and sitting through long graduation ceremonies just to get the perfect selfie as your friend is receiving their diploma. It is more than birthday parties, and ice cream runs.
True unconditional love is all of this plus wipping away tears, and giving comforting hugs during hard times. It is just being there even when things get really really hard. It is putting the broken peices back together with a kind smile and a warm hand to hold.
True love is making others feel important even when they don’t feel like they deserve it.