The Rarest Love
I spent part of my weekend going through some boxes that included manuscripts I wrote in college and letters from my family while I was away.
I’ve never been good at looking back. I’m not one to sit down and go through old photo albums and such. It makes me sad to see the faces of people and pets I’ve loved who are no longer here.
But Saturday, I pulled a letter from the box of those I’d saved. They were all still in their envelopes, their much less costly stamps in their righthand corner. This one, in its green envelope, was from my Grandma Johnson.
I removed the card and opened it up, her handwriting so instantly familiar, and then the sound of her voice attached to each word as I read. “Hi, sweet. Thinking of you and love you as usual.”
I got no farther than that before tears welled up inside me, and I read the rest of the note, unable to hold them back. Grandma had ended with, “I hope it won’t be long until you can come home.”
I closed the card and felt a renewed wave of grief for her loss in my life. I thought about the simple words of her message and realized in a way I never have before how few people have loved me the way she loved me. The way our grandparents and our parents love us.
It is a completely different kind of love. A love without conditions, without expectation. It’s pure and beautiful. And the most rare in our lives.
I think of the young woman I was at the time she wrote me this note and of how much better I could have been at letting her know I missed her and would be up to see her soon. I think of the place that had been her home, the wonderful food she prepared when she knew we were coming. And that this place no longer exists except in my memories.
I miss her so much. And selfishly, I miss the way she loved me. The way she saw me.
I’m not the first to discover that our older selves recognize the selfishness in our younger selves. The ways in which we took for granted the things that would end up being most important.
But I’m reminded with this note that we don’t have forever here with those we love. And that there is nothing more valuable we can give to them than letting them know with our words and our time how much they mean to us.
“The only way love can last a lifetime is if is unconditional.”
— Stephen Kendrick
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