The headstone above that memorializes "happy hours, days, weeks. . . ." with a loved one reminded me of the opening lines of Love Actually:
"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow airport. General opinion started to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. Seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate and revenge, they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling, you'll find that love actually is all around."
Yes, for final words in final phone calls and for remembrances in cemeteries, love is the word, as one is reminded while walking past monument-after-monument and stone-after-stone that pay tribute to the loving and the beloved. We worry about so many petty things in this lifetime, we hold on to hurts too long, and we get so mired in the muck (and often a muck of our own making), it is good to remember what we will take with us--and leave behind us--when we go. During my summer 2007 health scare, love was all I thought about while I thought I was dying. I hoped my niece and nephew would somehow remember me enough when they were older to know that I had loved them, I wished my ex-boyfriend well and hoped he remembered that I loved him and that he held on to that and didn't beat himself up, I prayed that I'd been loving enough to my brothers and parents, I even thought of a couple people I hadn't even really liked all that much and I just wished them love. Had I loved everyone enough, did they know how much I loved them, would the rest of their lives would be full of love? I wanted so much love for everyone. And if my own lifetime's worth of opportunities to give that love was over--no more conversations or cookies or letters or care packages--well, maybe I would still have ways to give love after I had passed? I prayed so. Love love, love. I believed I was dying, and love was all I could think about. That night's experiences have informed the way I've lived since, and I'm grateful.