It is painful to visit a relative you love, but hardly know except through ancient stories and the few experiences you've had over the 24 years together. The Christmases and Thanksgivings, and summer vacations that you spend together fail to clarify their personalities. But when you see them hurting its hard to not feel for them as you would your best friend. Harder even when you realize their sadness is out of pure loneliness; for who wants to be alive after the love of their life has left this world? The one they spent 50+ years with without a wince, with trials and tribulations that I will never hear about but that clearly didn't matter enough because they stuck it out.
What overwhelms me more that the solid loneliness that I want to take away from her is the familiar (and yes, selfish) commiseration with the feeling of love-despite-it-all. I never thought i'd even experience love, much less believe in it, but what gets me is the power of it all. She spent more than ten years witnessing him as a different person, an anxiety-ridden, clueless, forgetful man who lived in the body of her long-time love.
And to this day, she misses him. She knows him not as that man, but as the man she married half a century ago. She misses the man she married, the man she had 2 girls with, and the man who retired to allow them to travel the world. That is what strikes me as the most beautiful kind of love.
but i can't tell her that. i don't know how to tell her i admire her, and that i find her to be incredibly strong. I don't know how to be anything but a five year old around her because she didn't change with me since. I can't connect and I can't console, and I can't figure out why.
i yearn for days when jeff buckley makes it all better, while making it all worse as i discuss my loves made and lost with my love child.