“We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.” – Orson Welles
Readers of my regular blog will know that recently I’ve been somewhat preoccupied by the tragic death of a friend in a car accident. Even though I didn’t know him well (we met at a mutual friend’s wedding two weeks before the accident), we had spent enough time together for me to realise he was someone really quite special, and the knowledge he has been taken from this world so young, coupled with the pain his loved ones are now going through, is almost too much to bear (and if I feel that way, I can only imagine the depths of grief his girlfriend, parents and best friends are going through).
Last week I mentioned the passing of my friend to someone at a mutual friend’s leaving dinner. In response she said that hearing the story made her scared to ever fall in love. When I got home that evening I thought long and hard about the impermanency of love, or, more specifically, about how even if you are fortunate enough to find ‘The One’ (and let’s face it, many people spend their whole lives searching for love and never find it) and they feel the same about you it doesn’t necessarily mean that circumstances won’t conspire against you to prevent you being together, as in the case of my friends.
The quote I started this post with is, in many respects, true. We humans like to rely on one another, to seek out others who can help and support us through this life; people to whom we can abdicate responsibility when it all just gets too much, who can comfort us when times are hard. But ultimately we must be able to look after ourselves. Because if we cannot, at the core of our own solitary being, find a seed of certainty in who we are and what we stand for then how can we but drown in a sea of doubt and despair?
But, that being so, I simply cannot subscribe to the notion of refusing to permit love for fear of it ending. There is no more catastrophic ending to a relationship than death, but if that relationship was full to the brim of love, mutual respect and support, how could it have been better for it not to have existed in the first place? As hard as it is to let go of a loved one, I wholeheartedly believe the quote with which I will finish this post below. Love is a rare and glorious treasure. It is far better to experience it in all of its radiant and sometimes overwhelming colours than to never experience it in the first place. As I know everyone affected by this particular tragedy will agree.
“’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson
Well said, Alfred.