Love. It is the most remarkable phenomenon that exists in the world today. It cannot be measured, weighed or quantified. Yet it’s existence is powerful, indisputable and highly contagious.
Little did I know what awaited me. A test that would challenge everything I believed about myself.
It happened perchance, one day, that I would finally fall in love.
I fell for the most wonderful man in the world. A friend of 7 years, in fact, just out of the blue, our friendship exploded into a whirlwind romance that would become the greatest adventure of my life. Not because we travelled to exotic countries together or trekked mountains or anything madly exciting like that.
But because every time our fingers entwined, it felt like I was touching the moon. Each time we kissed, it felt like I was seeing the ocean for the first time. The way he said my name, two simple syllables, that sounded like hope. Because every time our eyes met, my blood turned into liquid fire. Still, my words fall short of ever describing the intensity of the feelings we have for each other.
How do we prove its existence? How do we know that love, the greatest muse, is indeed prevalent and omni-present? In actuality, the only solid proof that love exists, lies within ourselves. The love we give and the love we receive.
The love we experience in friendship for instance, the sense of duty and loyalty to care for our friends. The deep trust that comes from sharing our troubles as well as our happiest moments.
Or a mother’s love for example, her willingness to sacrifice every bit of herself for her children. Even her own life, if it meant keeping her children safe.
And of course, romantic love. In the beginning – a stranger, a mystery person unfolding before you, bit by bit each day. And you slowly learn little intimate details about them, like the curve of their smile or the way their eyes light up just before they laugh, or that secret little joke you have with each other that no one else knows. Before you know it, you’ve fallen in love with them. A perfect stranger has now become your closest confidante.
But what if one day, you would have to make a choice? To sacrifice one love for the sake of the other? In my case, it was sacrificing romantic love, for the love of my mother. You see, our relationship was causing my mother distress. She is an incredible woman, my mom. But she is also deeply invested in her beliefs, in religion and tradition. Her relationship with God is her ultimate love story and I completely respect that. But the man I had fallen in love with was of a different faith. And to my mother, it went against everything she dearly believed in. Needless to say, the quiet pain in my mother’s eyes and the gradual disappearance of her smile shattered me. How could her Muslim daughter marry a Sikh boy? It was unspeakable. So he and I prayed together, first at a Gurdwara then at a Mosque. We prayed for each other’s happiness and we prayed for both our mothers to give us their blessings.
Time went by and my mother fell very ill. She had been battling cancer for quite some time and I knew that my relationship with a non-Muslim was causing her emotional stress. I could no longer bear to see my mother suffer. So, to unburden her, I ended the relationship with him. It was painful, and to this day, I swear, our final good bye fractured every single bone in my body . It remains the most excruciating thing I have ever experienced.
Over time, my mother slowly recovered. It’s been 3 years now and her condition has stabilised, her smile is back and she is laughing again. I don’t know how much time my mother has left in this world as her battle with cancer is still not over, but I want the rest of her years to be happy. I want her to have peace of mind and I want her to be smiling when she leaves this world.
And so I remain content in my solitude, having my mother close and loving him from afar. Our love has changed of course, we don’t hold hands or kiss anymore. I may never touch the moon again, but I am eternally grateful to have loved him. And to have been loved so deeply, so genuinely, so gloriously. My love for him is mine alone, and I live and bask in it’s glow.
In the darkness of heartbreak, I learned something new and hopeful about life – that love is never lost. It is never wasted nor to be regretted. Love is the greatest blessing that we as a people can gift to ourselves and others. Choosing my mother’s happiness over my own, altered me profoundly.
I became more aware of the feelings of everyone else around me – my family members, my friends, my colleagues and even strangers that I meet. And my life has changed for the better. I’m not perfect, but I now have a simple purpose each day, to be kinder and more loving to everyone I meet.
Now I simply let my heart do what it was built for – to love deeply, truly and kindly. And for now, my mother is here to stay.