It is acceptance and appreciation of life and of who someone is. It is not wanting to change or correct another person or have them be any different than they are. Love is not possessive, jealous, critical, or demanding. It is simply loving – open arms, caring, cherishing, appreciating, treasuring, accepting, and being there for someone. Simply loving, without conditions or strings attached.
I offer that kind of love to my dad. My dad has Alzheimer’s, and he is now in an assisted-living memory-care facility. I visit him often – maybe three or four times a week. He is always so happy to see me – when I visit, I can see his face light up, feel his excitement, and sense his heart open. He is thrilled to have a visitor, especially family.
I usually take him out to lunch, and he gets so excited. It is a big adventure for him – being in a car, watching the buildings go by, and looking at all the traffic on the road. He always happily reads and announces all the street signs that we pass.
He is filled with a lifetime of memories – work, sports, hobbies, trips, trophies and awards, accomplishments, and family. He is the person behind all that, who has lived a lifetime and done so much, and he is so much more than that, too.
He no longer understands big words or large concepts, so I usually keep it simple for him. I tell him how I admire everything he’s accomplished and what a great life he has led. I mention to him all the sports he’s played – basketball, ping pong, tennis, swimming – and his eyes light up and a huge smile breaks out on his face.
I talk about all the things he’s taught me – how to ride a bike, swim, play ping pong, type, and drive a car. I talk about all the trips he’s taken, and how he’s been all over the world.
I tell him how happy I am to see him and be with him. I tell him how I look forward to having these lunches with him, and that the best part of the lunch is that I get to spend it with him. He almost cries with happiness.
Sometimes he is rational and makes sense. But there are also times when he is irrational, illogical, or confused. He is often goofy and silly, like a happy little kid.
And no matter what, it is okay. It is absolutely, unequivocally fine with me. No matter what he thinks or feels, he is who he is at that moment. He is himself, he is my dad, and he just is. And I can’t ask anything else of him.
So I simply let him be and love him no matter what he says or does. He can be as irrational or bizarre as he wants, and it makes no difference. He is my dad, and he simply is who he is. And I love him. And it’s all spectacularly wonderful.
So I tell him how handsome he looks and how my time with him is so very special. I tell him what a joy it is to see him and be with him and that I love him very much.
And the look on his face, the joy he shows in response, is truly priceless.
And I do love him – with open arms, and cherishing every moment. Love transcends everything around us and gets to the very heart of what is.
Love is life discovering itself in a deep explosion of bliss.
Love transcends – and I am so very grateful to be part of that.
Copyright © 2014 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.