“What happens when people open their hearts? They get better.” ~Haruki Murakami
Jake and I met last year at Brownstone coffee shop as we bonded over our one-way ticket trips that we had somehow booked on the same day, May 19th, to Eastern Europe and Central America. Jake healing from trauma of the war, and I was healing from trauma of sexual assault. Trying to discover a new identity and inner freedom, we met each other when we really needed another person to help us find meaning from healing from the trauma.
We came back from our healing trips internationally to even more trauma. This time in the form of cancer. The cancer had spread to the neck and the doctors ordered chemo and radiation for Jake. Scared of what was to come for the both of us, we began an even deeper healing journey holding each other through this process.
You love not to receive, but to give wholly and fully every part of yourself.
I never knew how powerful love was until I allowed myself to dive into without expectations, and with knowing that at times I was going to struggle-not to hurt me-but to help grow me as a person. Love grows a person deeply. It allows them to make choices purely based on their heart desires and provides the energy to make them into reality. Philosophers say love is the most powerful force, and I couldn’t agree more.
We are afraid of love because of how powerful of a force it is. It has the ability to transform us into kinder, wiser, and gentle human beings. Jake was my transformer of love.
When I first met Jake it wasn’t love at first site, but rather a love-soul connection in the making. I wasn’t sure why he was placed in my life, but I knew there was a purpose greater than what I could currently understand. Over a year later, I was right and so was he (he told me when I came back from Central America that he knew one day we were going to get married. He was a fighter, but he was even a bigger lover who knew my hearts desires the best).
Jake taught how to love deep to my bones. He taught me to be in the moment for what it was, rather than expect it to be something else. He taught me that we all have the capacity to love with our whole heart, but it’s allowing our self to be vulnerable with another human being that is the key. We must let our guard down to let in love. It takes work, commitment and a person that you trust to grow with.
Love has rough patches. It has joyful moments along the way. It is messy, and it complicated, but at the end of the day it’s the only gift we really have to share with one another completely unconditionally.
Jake taught me not only to love another human being so fully and richly, but myself too. He taught me that in love both of us take care of each other. He taught me that you can never say, “I love you” too much. He taught me to be put my healing first, even if it meant not putting him first. He taught me how to hold a person so deeply that I never wanted to let go.
Jake is not only my lover, but my healer. He showed me how strong I was when I made decisions from my heart. He showed me unconditional love by continuing to love me at every moment of our relationship. This love I never knew existed and it has transformed my life in every imaginable way.
Love doesn’t give you what you expect, it gives you what you need to heal and grow. Jake showed me how important it is to love people. It’s a gift that keeps on giving and keeps on growing.
When I think of love I think of Jake and how he took the risk to pour his whole heart into me. After 3 deployments to Iraq & Afghanistan he took a huge risk exposing himself to me, but he needed my love just as much as I need his love. Together we healed one another. We did not attach ourself to one another, but rather supported our individual healing journeys together unconditionally. We walked hand in hand knowing that we were strong enough to get through it.
Love has healed me in a way that I hope every human gets to experience. We don’t love because it’s easy we love because our soul breathes it. Jake helped me find meaning in suffering and hope in what was next for the both of us, even if it didn’t mean being together. We’d tell each other it’s okay not to be okay, just don’t give up on yourself.
When the cancer came back again I didn’t know how I would handle it. Here was the man of my dreams who I was going to move to the Colorado with and eventually marry, slowing dying in front of me. I realized that it didn’t have to make sense and maybe we would take our honeymoon before a wedding, we were the one’s that got to make the rules for our life together. Although our days were short in our marriage together, they were some of the most beautiful days of my life. I had waited my whole life to feel that loved and cherished.
I don’t quite know how all this works, but I know I will carry our love for each other wherever I go. In the end Jake taught me some of the most meaningful lessons in life and most importantly how to smile and develop a sense of humor through it all. In the end Jake became the love story I needed to grow.
I never imagined planning a wedding and a funeral in one week, but what got me through it all was Jake’s love. Even when he physically could not express it (and he told me “I love you” at least 10 times a day) I could feel the love radiate through his body and mine. He is my loving warrior who still continues to walk with me and guide me to my heart.
I am at peace he is at peace. His presence is with me, with us here. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I will forever hold his love in my heart. Choosing to love Jake with everything I had healed me in many ways. Love does make us a better person. In time we heal, in love we grow.