I am a fortunate woman.

I know what a man’s eyes look like when he looks upon me and sees the world. I know the ache of the heart when that love is no longer enough. I have been loved with the passion and fire of a first love. I learned that the greatest and hardest love is not a feeling but a choice. I have been blessed with the opportunity to love faithfully in times of great trial and difficulty. I know, too, the heartbreak of a love lost forever. I have a lineage that includes loves which span more than half a century, wins wars against disease and bears loss. I know the reward and cost of loving another’s children as if they were your own. I know the impossible fullness in my heart when they are little and cling to me as they surrender to sleep. My heart still bears the scar caused by the pain of never getting to see them again. I have been loved faithfully by creatures for the entirety of their lives, and I have loved them through caring for them in each of their seasons. I have been told, unsolicited, that my love is remarkable, impossible, improbable and irrational and I have struggled with knowing whether this was a positive or negative attribute. I have been set adrift in a sea of self-doubt and been rescued by an everlasting Love. I have discovered the freedom that comes with loving others without needing anything from them in return. And I have begun to love myself with the compassion, forgiveness and generosity with which I try to love others.

I am a fortunate woman to have known Love so well as this.

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