Love’s essential heartbeat lives on in both life, death


“Love is the heartbeat of all life” says philosopher Paramahasa Yogananda. That can mean a lot of things and present challenges as we go through life. Throughout the year, we are reminded of love — at Valentine’s Day, in Spring, at Mother’s Day and while attending June weddings.

As a child, we were taught about love when the teacher told us to make sure every child in class received a valentine. My mother got the cheap ones from Woolworth’s. I cut them out of sheets and glued the envelopes together. Typical rhymes read: “Roses are red, violets are blue….”  There was the “I love you!” and “Be my friend!” on Valentine’s Day.

Recently, while going through my mother’s trunk — hope chest, I found a small book “A Pair of Red Lips and Other Poems” dated 1913. There were poems from Browning and Wordsworth and a lot of unknown writers. One that hit a cord was “First Love” by Charles Paisley:

“Sometimes in solitude I run

Back through the years so swiftly spun,

And from the mist of memory,

My first love comes again to me.                                                          

A phantom maiden, free of care,

With April tangled in her hair.                                                                     

I feel her close; I know her lips,

The tender touch of finger tips,                                                                   

The sandy beach, the water swell,

Her Laughter that I knew so well,                                                                                 

The pain that hovered in my heart

When our two lives were split

And then, as sudden as she came,

She leaves me to my own again.”         

Love through the years is complicated, sensitive, rewarding, magic and challenging. We love as children, newlyweds, parents, neighbors, grandparents and in so many roles. We love, we are in love, we make love, we care, we share  and we communicate.

Love might change as time goes on. After 45 years of marriage, a woman on Valentine’s Day said to her husband, “The last time you said: ‘I Love You!’ was on our wedding day.” He thought for a moment and responded, “I still do, and when I don’t, I will tell you.”     

At the end of life, we find love after death. In sorrow, we remember. We replay the good times and loving memories. We have the capacity to accept a new challenge and move on in love again.