Being Loved Like That

I’m ba-a-a-ck. 

After some major technical issues with my blog website that took some effort to finally get fixed and a few more of life’s obstacles over the last couple of years I’m finally sitting at my keyboard again, and it feels right. Writers know when we’re “off,” we know when we can sit down and it’ll pour out of us, and we also know when our creative pipeline is clogged we might as well sit on a bed of fire ants because that’s as pleasant as the writing experience is going to be. 

And because I think everything happens as it’s supposed to, and when it’s supposed to, I also think I needed these last couple of years to clear out my mind and heart so maybe the website being all kinked up was just the forced hiatus I needed. 

But it’s all working and my brain has been cleaned out and reorganized much like an episode of Hoarders after they send in the hazmat crew. The thoughts can flow now, sentences can form, and lucky you, can once again be privy to my meanderings. 

All four of you. 

And I recently found out my mother isn’t even one of the four. 

Many of you know that I lost a best friend in January. She died suddenly and unexpectedly during a two week battle with the flu. Don’t worry, this is not a blog post about her. I could write an epistle on what she meant to me and many others, but it would fall short so I won’t even try. 

This is also NOT a blog entry about grief. The pain of losing someone who is a huge part of your daily life and who you loved dearly seems unbearable at times. That’s news to no one reading this. Life doesn’t spare any of us. We all face it eventually. Grief isn’t new or rare or even profound. Grief is just grief. 

What I never realized about losing someone you love is this other hidden layer in the middle—like a bad cream filling—I learned how painful it is to lose a person you love, but also a person who loves YOU right.

I never knew there was a distinction with respect to grief, between the two, loving and being loved, until I experienced the loss of it. 

This is about being loved.

This person. You love them so much. You enjoy them. You laugh with them, make years of memories with them. You cry with them when you need it. You call them first to share your child’s engagement news, that your divorce is final, to tell them your funny airport security story or they call you to let you know that the corner vegetable stand finally has decent tomatoes. All that becomes your normal, every day safety routine. You love them, and they do love you. It’s great and everyone should have that. Everyone should have that person. Some lucky folks have several. 

But then there’s those few precious ones who you get in your life, you love them dearly, but they’re different because not only do they love you, but they love you exactly the way you need to be loved. 

They just know how to love you right. 

When you are sad or pissed off and you share it, and you’re sitting in that emotional washtub of cold dirty water they can get in it with you and by the time you are finished with your story they’re just as pissed off as you are—maybe even more. They are your cheerleader, your forehead kisser, your pat on the back person and your make-it-all-better person. Even when they can’t make it all better, they give you the illusion that they can, and for that second it feels like relief. They are that net when you get pushed off the edge, and you know without a doubt when you call them, they are going to say the very words that you need to hear. Every single time they are going to get it, and get you

Because they know how to love you right. 

They’ve paid attention. They’ve seen you vulnerable. They know where your weaknesses are and they protect and coddle them as if they were their own. They don’t secretly hold onto your insecurities so they can use them to wound you later as an act of superiority or to one-up you. They hold little you and your shortcomings in the palm of their giant King Kong hand, cupping you safely. They remind you of your greatness when you’ve forgotten. They shoot confidence into our veins when you have failed. And it all feels true and genuine. It feels umbilical as if they are giving you needed oxygen. 

Because they know how to love you. 

They don’t have a hidden agenda. They don’t just look like they’re your friend, while secretly being resentful or bitter. They are genuinely concerned for your welfare and your emotional state, and your happiness means everything imaginable to them as if it was linked to their own source of life’s energy. Looking into the eyes of someone who knows how to love you is seeing pride looking back at you even on your worst, most worthless day. They make you feel like your greatness was achieved by being born, by existing, and your exhaled breath is keeping them alive. 

Because they know this is how you should be loved. And they know how to do it. 

Not everyone can do this. In fact I’d bet that most people have no clue how to love the people that they have made a life with. I would also bet that a lot of people have sadly navigated their entire life without a person who really knows how to love them. If we’re lucky, we have people who try, and those people should be held onto for dear life and given credit for wanting to love us correctly because “wanting to and trying” are half the battle. We should be grateful for those trying so desperately to love us right, because it’s so much easier not to try. They shouldn’t be given a Participation trophy, but a MVP trophy. They’re there. They’re trying. They’re missing it sometimes but they’re also getting it right as best as they can. They just don’t know how to love us right and it’s not necessarily their fault. 

But here’s the dearness of those people who DO know how to love us right—their little secret—they ultimately teach us how to love ourselves. They show us how we deserve to be loved. They show us that our value is infinite and measureless. Our talents and abilities are unique. Our energy and our place in this world—unmatched and vital. Their appreciation for our existence is not conditional on what we can do for them or how they can benefit from having us in their lives. They just love us correctly because that’s what they were put on this earth to do. 

And when they are done with their mission, when they are sure they have successfully convinced us that we are the most magnificent human being that they always knew we were, they will leave. They will leave us to love ourselves completely. Where there once were holes or frayed bits of our soul needing to be tucked in and patted sweetly, there will now be sturdy seams holding us. Even though they will leave us, they will leave us better than we were because they knew how to love us. 

If grief is the price for being loved like that, I will pay. 


I love Shelly. She always makes you feel like a million bucks!”

–a quote by many 

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