In The End Love is All

By: Anne Corke

Apr 10 2014

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Category: Life stories

1 Comment

When Gary and I first met, I was in my late twenties, happily single, he was mid thirties and married. At that point in time, I could never have imagined that we would one day end up together. Last night, I was going through a box of old photos and found several love letters which he had written in the early days of our relationship. Accompanying those letters was a column that I had clipped from the paper and kept all these years. As I read it once more, I was reminded of those tumultuous early days, of the rollercoaster of emotions, of the doubts and fears, and how, in spite of all the obstacles we faced, we found a way to be together. The words still ring true to me and I hope the author of the piece doesn’t mind if I share it with you now.

‘In the end, love is all’

In the beginning of the emotional life, love seems so uncomplicated, so easy, so natural, that it resembles a state of grace.

Then, love is simply, everything.
Boy meets girl; girl meets boy; they fall in love; they ride off into the sunset where, without any need for instructions in the art of loving, they presume they will live happily ever after.

The only trouble with that scenario is the nature of their love, for the lightning that strikes young lovers is not the sum of love, but only one part of it, the most perishable part, desire. Yet that mating instinct, that urge to nest, can be so urgent that it can override everything else – education, career, common sense, family, friends, society’s opinion, personal judgment. Selecting a mate in this state is not so much a matter of choice as it is a matter of timing: the hormones speak and the heart finds an answer.

There is no room for fear in this young emotion, for there is no thought of failure. Indeed, young lovers believe that love is their personal invention, certainly no one else ever felt as strongly as they do. They are smug in their certainty of permanence. Divorce statistics mean nothing to them, for all those who fall out of love are dismissed as never having really been in love in the first place. This couple is convinced that they will never know the perilous state of being out of love.

Yet what lies in wait for them is really a matter of luck, married to the ability to articulate and respect each others wants and needs and a stubborn determination to make love last. Many fail; many more drift into a state of habit in which there is no affection, no caring, and nothing resembling true love.

As we mature, we realize that love is anything but simple; some of us even wonder whether love, with all its complications is even desirable.

The middle-aged response to love varies. There are those who think love is something we should outgrow, leave behind with our schoolbooks and our adolescence. There are others who take love for granted, who believe that it can be obtained and then postponed, put, like a telephone call, on hold, until the appropriate moment.

There is the man who pursues his career, too busy chasing the elusive phantom known as success to have loving time to spend with his children, let alone be a romantic lover to his wife.

There is the wife who puts her energy into being a mother, a cook and a housekeeper: she is too tired at the end of her day to have any energy for the role of mistress. Since her husband is too preoccupied with the affairs of business to have an affair with her anyway, she tries to fill up the spaces in her life with other activities, sublimating her love in community activities, volunteer work or family.

Together they make clients instead of friends; they acquire a new rug instead of a new insight into each other; they build a castle, a swimming pool, a bank account, and status, instead of a loving marriage.

There are some who believe that love can be compartmentalized, that its pleasures can be embraced without its responsibilities; they spend these years involved in a series of one night stands or brief affairs in which there is sexual contact but no intimacy.

And there are still others who try to find a substitute for love in applause or an array of plaques to hang on the wall, in a reputation for splendid parties, or the greatest number of testimonial dinners. These are the people who believe that status is proof that they are lovable.

And then one day, something happens. A parent dies, or the kids leave home and a couple discover they have nothing to say; a healthy neighbour in his prime drops dead from a heart attack; a woman wakes up at 4 a.m. to discover that she is cold and very alone. Whatever the trigger, the meaning is clear. Time is short.

All the trite things suddenly appear as the truth that they are – from the moment that it is breathed into us, life begins to run out; the meaning of life can be found only in the way we live it.

It takes most of us far too long to realize that there are no substitutes for love. Corporate success won’t make a dint in the history books; the taxman will take all your money; the headwaiter’s recognition disappears when you retire; there isn’t a material possession in the world that can match a loving hug from someone who cares about you and as for public opinion, a life lived for the benefit of that fickle lady is truly a life wasted.

Yet the more we value love as we grow older, the harder it is for us to surrender to it. We are paralysed by the fear of failure, by our concern about looking ridiculous. We are often hedged in by responsibility.

For many, there is simply no opportunity, no soul on the horizon with whom to join forces in the greatest risk of all. And if the lightning does strike, we hesitate, for we come to each other weighed down by the ghosts of old loves, guilt, insecurities, defences.

Where once it seemed so natural, now love takes great courage. And yet, surely, anything else is out of the question.

For as we move into the last part of our lives, we know that this, whatever it costs, whatever it takes, whatever it demands, however long it may last, a day or a lifetime, is worth it.

For in the end, love is all.

Joan Sutton

I couldn’t agree more. Miss you, Gary. Love you forever.

Copyright 2014 Anne Corke

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One comment on “In The End Love is All”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing that with us Anne. You both looked so happy….you were made for each other!
    I’ll email you later…..again thank you so much for sharing with us.


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