Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. ― Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
In a follow on to my side trip into aging gracefully, I made a few tweaks to this previous post to give a snapshot into the thoughts one has for a loved one as they grow old together and frailty begins to pull one away from the other.
The metaphor of life from a faded rose in my garden struck me one day as I watched it fade, almost over night. Memories of youth and life played like a song in my mind even though the words played hide and seek as I searched my mind to no avail to remember dates, names, and faces of those long gone. How our lives fade came to me all too clear in that moment through the lens when the rose came into focus.
A FADED ROSE
Why do you look so down, now?
Is the weight of your life so heavy on your slender stem?
You do not open your heart to me, to show the wonder of your flowering beauty as you did before.
What is it you don’t want me to see that you showed me with pleasure before?
Do you mourn the passing of your youth into the harsh tiredness of your struggle to live?
Before, you didn’t think on this day that must come. But, you knew it would, eventually. The sun caused your color to shine, iridescent. You opened your face to it and took in the heat of it. It burned you in time, didn’t it? You had all that hope, as you stared into the brightness and transformed into something more wondrous and complex than you were when your love first bloomed.
You held raindrops on your soft petals like love holds a heart. Life nourished you and you grew bigger than your stature showed. Your life shined brighter and more sensual. Life also beat down on you, pushed you around, and weakened you. You lost some of your petals to it and your confidence fell down along those lost petals and withered with them.
Don’t you know that you are still beautiful?
Though your petals are now wrinkled and curled, I see only the one I’ve loved from the beginning. Your scars are visible. You can’t hide them anymore. They give you the uniqueness I adore.
Don’t you know that in the middle of all the others, in all their splendor too, I can see no other but you?
If we lived forever in that moment of our full bloom, faultless, and unscathed; would we need to cherish every moment together now, thinking we would have each other always?
Would I hurry to see your face each day, knowing the changes would never come?
Would I take in your beguiling fragrance, and hold the sweet memory of you in my dreams if I thought your life would never fade from my eyes?
It’s because you will leave me too soon that I cherish every moment I’m with you. Your struggle to stay makes you more dear. Your scars make me love you more for the pain you endured, for me. Let us make this journey together. Do not turn away, as if ashamed of your tarnish. Share it with me; so that I may love you until the last petal of your life falls. The rosehip that remains will remind me of those days when we were young, carefree, and in love.
Look at me. Let us love like we did before when you felt beautiful, and your face glowed in the sun. Let me admire your life as it is and think on your past glory, your rich hue and alluring scent.
Look at me, and let us fall in love again.