By ROBERT FUSELIER
Susie, Jenny, Bobby, and I would like to thank everyone for the thoughts, prayers, pictures, stories, food and visits that you’ve shared with us over the last few weeks as we’ve tried to deal with the loss of Mike, our son/brother.
Until I’m ready to write again for this column, I thought I’d steal a few essays written by Mike. Here’s one from August 8, 2016.
THINGS I LEARNED WHILE FALLING IN LOVE
1. It is always worth it, even if it ends. The myriad feelings that envelop you while you are in love teach you immensely about yourself. These feelings are ineffable in words, but viscerally known in your soul. A life lived in their absence is a life without.
2. Be honest about who you were, are, and wish to become. A partnership only works if both sides know what the other wants and strive to help one another achieve that. Be honest about how you feel with yourself and be open with those feelings. True honesty cannot exist when you are closed off. Openness comes at a cost of vulnerability, and vulnerability can be extremely uncomfortable. Until you become comfortable with being uncomfortable then you will continue to fall short of how deep your connection can become, and you will continue to fall short of all the places you can go in this lifetime.
3. Never let them feel that the way they FEEL is not valid. Their feelings are part of their reality, and transitively part of yours. They are as tangible as the occurrences that caused them. Your job is not to understand their feelings, fix them, or try and feel them yourself. Your job is to acknowledge the struggle they are experiencing, be empathic towards them, and support them through them. Feelings are part of every human. We need to feel them deeply and fully. Only through this can we become aware and understand why these feelings exist. Maybe they’re right, maybe they’re wrong, but they are always valid.
4. Love yourself. The good, the bad, all of it. Always.
5. Stand up for yourself and what you need. Sometimes it can feel that asking something of your partner is going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. This is especially true when they are experiencing their own challenges and struggles. But being in love is not about taking turns supporting each other, it is about supporting, and being supported, simultaneously. It may seem that adding one more thing to their life will make them feel resentment or anger towards you, and it might, but those feelings will be fleeting. The togetherness that is built through struggle will strengthen your relationship and will be what lasts.
6. Find ways to show your love. Don’t let the words, “I Love You,” become an empty promise. Discover what your partner needs to grow and flourish in mind, body, and soul and strive towards actions to help them experience those things. I’m not talking about doing the dishes, or watering the plants, or walking the dogs. These things are helpful and kind but they are things that can make one’s life easier, but not better or more fulfilling; and these are not shared experiences. The point of love is to share it with someone. Continually find ways to share your love with them by doing things that nourish them and you will discover that it will be self-nourishing as well.
7. Tell them that you love them, that you think they’re beautiful, that the way they live and love inspires you to become a better person. Whatever great and wonderful thought you have about them share it with them. Don’t wait for a better moment, because there isn’t one.
So, there it is. These words are a summation of everything I have discovered being in love. I’m not sure if they will help anyone else out or not, but maybe they will.
We grow as a society because of our shared experiences. I have learned a great deal about myself and life in the last few years, and one of the things that continues to stand out is that we are all in this together.
We are a world community and what strengthens one of us strengthens all of us. Go out there and support, share, and love one another.
Au revoir Facebook world, for now. I’m taking a hiatus (probably until November 8th). Take care of each other.