Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Price of Love

The last two visits I made to Kelowna were made because of my grandmother.  The first visit in November was because she was taken to the hospital and if I wanted to see her again, I knew that I should quickly make the trip.  I went again over Christmas holidays, this time to attend her memorial service.  Both times I saw love personified in the actions of my grandparents. From here on in I will refer to them by the Frisian terms for grandpa and grandma, Pake and Beppe, because that is how I've always known them.  

I remember on the first visit, dropping in at the hospital to find my grandparents holding hands while my Pake (grandpa) read a book to my Beppe.  You don't hear it much in weddings anymore, but the vows of "in sickness and in health" came to mind.  While my Beppe was in the hospital, my Pake would visit her several times a day and on occasion wake up and visit her during the night when she was scared or lonely.  

That's the thing about love, it's about giving.  Love isn't some feeling or emotion, or at least not true love.  Love is sacrifice.  I recently asked my Mom what family life was like growing up.  She told me that although everything said about Beppe being a wonderful, loving, and caring wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother was true, there were times when she was quite difficult to live with.  That of course is true of everybody.  What then, kept my grandparents together for nearly 58 years?  

If you are going to build a tower, don't you first estimate the cost to see if you have enough money?  Likewise, if you enter into a relationship you should estimate the cost; love isn't cheap. I don't think love is splitting everything fifty fifty.  Love is always a gamble.  Love is giving everything in the hope that you will win love in return.  Love means dying to yourself.  

My grandparents loved each other.  No doubt about it.  They gambled and won.  Nearly six decades they spent loving each other, even in times when it was hard.  For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health until death did them part.  Now perhaps, my Pake is paying the hardest price of all because love can't halt aging and death.  After a lifetime, he is now alone with thoughts and memories.  

If one were callous they might ask him whether it was all worth it.  A life spent giving and giving of himself only to lose in the end.  A life without a wife and subsequent children would probably have been far easier and definitely cheaper.  Instead, he choose the expensive cost of loving another with everything that he had.  The price of love is high, but love is what we were made to do. 


Anonymous said...

Beautiful post Ed.

Meera said...

Ed, this really is beautiful. It's encouraging to hear about your grandparents' love. Your insight about love meaning you give everything - all of you - in the hopes of winning love in return is so true. The word love has been so removed from the idea of self-sacrifice; love in our world is supposed to make you feel good.

Thanks a lot for sharing this. said...

Ed, sorry to hear about your grandma. I read this post today and I was reminded of my grandma who passed away 10 years ago this past april. I am glad we got to know our grandmas