I have a friend who recently, tragically, lost her husband to cancer. He was only 45; same age as her. They have three sons who are now missing the heck out of their father. And he was a wonderful father. Just as he was a wonderful husband. In fact, this friend says he treated her like a princess. That never a day went by but what he let her know how beautiful, special, cherished, loved, adored, wanted, cared for and amazing she was. She was deeply, thoroughly, completely loved and treasured by her mate. And she is hurting over the loss. Friends have naturally rallied around her. People are taking her places, including her and her boys in their plans, bringing them meals. There are cards, letters, calls. Nothing can compensate for losing her husband. Nothing can fill the void. But she has the love and support of hundreds of friends and of a couple of handfuls of family members. Her prince is gone…she is no longer the adored princess. But she is being nurtured tenderly by caring friends who love her greatly. She comes from a loving environment. Her father died a few years ago, a loss she still grieves. She was a daddy’s girl. Her mother is still living and they are very close. They even live in close proximity (her parents moved to this city so they could be near her and their grandkids). She was adored by her parents when she was growing up and that adoration hasn’t ended. It has changed. But she is still the treasured child and her mother is there for her now, during this time of devastating loss. Her husband’s health issues were a strain. But those issues never came between them. They never fought. They simply adored each other. My friend has, in fact, in spite of some hard circumstances (his health issues, losing a sister to diabetes, having a son diagnosed with diabetes) always been surrounded by people who loved her. Greatly loved her. And that love has carried her. It has sustained her. It has let her blossom and grow, in spite of the pain life brings at times.
I was 47 when I lost my husband. He left me when he fell in love with another woman. No one called. No one came by. No one brought meals. One friend included me in some of her family’s plans for holidays and such, but other than that, I was on my own. There were no cards. No letters. No outpouring of love and condolence. Divorce is a kind of death, but it’s not treated that way. You’re pretty much on your own when you lose your husband because of divorce, as if you did something horribly wrong and deserved to be left behind. There’s still quite a bit of shame attached. And people criticize, take sides and avoid you as a result.
Not that I lost a great love the way my friend did. He was truthful with me, telling me often and candidly that he didn’t love me. Why he married me, I guess I’ll never truly understand. But from year one throughout the 22 years we were together, he let me know in many ways how defective and deficient I was and how he simply didn’t care for me. No bubble of love for this girl. I hung in there. I was loyal and faithful, believing God would somehow, someday, in some way, redeem the situation and breathe life into our relationship. I believed God would work it all together for good and that at some point the man I gave my heart to would come to love me. Instead, he left me for another. He’s now remarried (not to her) and by all reports is very happy.
I’m still alone and unloved.
My parents didn’t love me either. They abused me. Used me. Hurt, destroyed, wounded, demolished me. But love…no.
You know that movie with Drew Barrymore and Michael Vartan, “Never Been Kissed?” Cute, funny, sweet movie with a “happily ever after” ending? If that movie happened to be about me, it would be called “Never Been Loved.” For the truth is, though I have been married twice, I have never been loved. No fairytale ending in my movie. I would be waiting in that stadium for days and he would never come. And it hurts.
So, I guess I’m having a little bit of a pity party. But I can’t help but compare my situation to that of my friend who just lost her husband. I know I’m not the cutest, most wonderful, funniest, sweetest, most exciting person on planet earth. I’m nothing special. I have issues. I’m highly imperfect. But there are zillions of “nothing special” and”highly imperfect” people out there who have been deeply, truly loved. Who aren’t alone. Which makes me think I must really be horrid in some incredibly hideous way to have never had what most people naturally experience.
And that is what scares me the most. Maybe I’ve never been loved because there’s absolutely nothing there worth loving.