You can't love people for who they were. This has been one of my big lessons, in life.
Maybe you married a boy, and your 3 week old baby was being rocked and rocked on your mom's lap in the courtroom. Maybe he promised things that were pretty. He loved you and his son, he said. If years have gone by, and he didn't keep his promises, you can't love him for a moment that has passed.
If your son was beautiful and bright and you held him against your body like there was no space between you... if you loved him like you loved breathing, and he grew up selfish and cold, and to love his appetites better than the people who needed him, you can't love him as though he is still a boy.
I was fun and full of fire and youth, I painted my eyes and forgot my shoes when I visited you for the weekend. I begged you, in your ear, to turn away from the world, and you loved me. Then, we had babies and bought a house. My feet started to hurt when I wore sandals. I stopped wearing makeup and cut my hair. Remember me fondly, and the way I used to be, but love me for what I am, now... for the wrinkles in my fingertips, for the milk stains on my shirt.
When we cling to our love of something that has passed, we don't understand our capabilities. We're not getting that we've changed, too, and that nothing stays the same. Love can stay, but it has to change, because we do. If I die tomorrow, I want you to be able to say that I was loveable, right up to the moment I left. I want you to laugh, with tears in your eyes, because of something I said or did on the last day of my life, not only because I was beautiful and young and easy to love, once.
A lot of pain comes from treating love like it is a solid thing, stamped into a stone during our best and easiest moments. We grieve when things change, then, because we are surprised. If your love is the solid, temporary kind, and you can't abide me as
I've changed, I don't need for you to cling to the day I was pretty in
the sunlight and you felt I would be this way forever.
It isn't enough that your loved ones hold on to you because they remember what you've been. We can't have something back, once it has gone. In order to love you, you must be acceptable as you are, in this very moment, carrying all the things you've seen on your back and in the lines of your face. If somebody promised to love you forever, you must be loveable, forever. You've got to love back, treat it kindly and with respect, and be worthy of love, forever.
What I want most is to allow my love to change along with the people in my life. To acknowledge that I will change, too. I want to be held responsible for all the times I am not very loveable, and to hold those that I love responsible, too. I want to be able to say, "I will remember the things you have been and love you deeply forever, but you must be worthy of my attachment, energy and worry, now."
Does that make sense?