Too Much Love Can Kill You.....
Love is a many splendid thing, All you need is love, Somebody to love, You've got to hide your love away - so much advice in music and songwriting. I used to love knocking up a mix-tape to impress a girlfriend. The hours spent pausing and recording and choosing the perfect songs to fit the mood. The last one I made was called Help The Aged and was for my wife on the first Valentines we spent together. Very much tongue in cheek but also a plea because I think I struggled to know what love was for most of my adult life.
As I child I think I took it for granted. I was surrounded by loving, caring people and I wanted for nothing. But I believe my love of music lead to a very naive and simple understanding of the word love. Even at the age of 12 , with my first kiss I viewed it through slightly tinted glasses. Love was about the opposite sex and about going out with them. Wasn't it?
For an almost mute teenager I did OK where girl's were concerned. I had girlfriends. But I was surrounded by a very toxic group of lads who thought that commitment, compassion and caring were for sissies. My brothers were not good role modes; marrying early but casually carrying out extra marital affairs as if that was the norm!
Until I was twenty two I had had a few close relationships but if issues came up I moved on and found someone else. I have to say , in matters of the heart, I behaved, at times, despicably. I look back and cringe at how I treated some of my girlfriends. Callous and, frankly, horrid. But I now ask why? I wanted love. I wanted the physical side. But looking back, I don't think I knew what love was. I got hurt a couple of times and fell to pieces but I'm not sure why.
So coming to the present day I still find myself asking these questions. I love my wife but even as I married ( 20 years AGO) I was not sure I knew exactly what love was.
I do think on February 19th 2003 I finally understood what real love was. It was around 10am in the morning and a cold, sunny half term day and my darling Iona came into the world. To say it had been a struggle to get to this point would be an understatement and the bumpy ride was still to continue. My wife had already had an eptopic pregnancy and had had to have a large % of her reproductive organs removed. Our chances were around 10%. After my daughters birth, my wife had a further eptopic pregnancy and miscarriages. To now have four children is a miracle. But it is a miracle filled with love ( and tiredness).
Now as a dad my love is total. It has no walls , no ceiling. I think, one cold February day this was cemented for me. My youngest , Fara, was 6 months old and had been grouchy with a cold. Now from 6pm that night until 9pm I think I had my only out of body experience. My wife, an ITU nurse, started to really worry about Fara and before I knew it he was blue lighted to A&E. A description of those three hours would take more than that time to describe but I prayed. Take me and not him. To watch a team of five doctors and a dozen nurses work to save his life was the scariest experience of my life. But that was love, tainted by fear, but pure , unadulterated love. His battle lasted a few days but finally he pulled through.
Now I find love in the smallest of things; a smile, a text, a scribbled note, the curl in a child's hair, the feel of a hand in mine. Most parents love the small of their children's hair ( perhaps not teenagers) ; its one of those perfect things in life. I also love running my finger through my child's hair. It comforts them and me. Even my teenage son doesn't pull away when I do it. I'm a big softy. And this act transports me back to my childhood. I would sit at my Aunt's feet and she would curl my hair with her fingers ( I did have an afro , like a white MJ). My mum found herself at 40 with a new born twins, on top of 14 year old twins, living in a two bedroom cottage in London. So, we moved to the south coast, and my Aunt and Uncle helped bring us up. My mum loved me, as did my dad, but they weren't demonstrative. I haven't hugged my mum in 40+ years. Therefore my Aunts tactile nature meant the world to me.
Unfortunately, last Sunday, she passed away in a care home. Not from Covid19 but she had given up. No one could see her or hold her hand. Now as tears roll down my face, I realise that love is a touch, a look, a gesture, not a sloppy song and a broken heart, although my heart feels slightly broken at the moment.
So now I know I am surrounded by love. What I now need to do is learn to love myself and that is a whole different ball game. But as my hero David Bowie said ""Gentleness clears the soul, love cleans the mind and makes it free." I'm hoping to free my mind and make it spotlessly clean.