What is Love?

by Brandon

How do you define love? And to be clear, I’m talking about the love two people feel towards each other, not the kind of love we apply to, say, watermelon (although my love for watermelon is indeed profound).

Dictionary.com has several definitions for love, but the one that comes closest to what I’m talking about says love is “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.”

Does that cover it for you? It doesn’t for me. Not by a long shot. I think love runs deeper than that.

The problem is, I can’t really define it. And if I’m being totally honest, until I got cancer, I didn’t really understand what love is.

But now I know exactly what love is.

And while I can’t define it in simple terms, I can define it through examples. So here goes…

When I was in a coma, Laura sat by my side, pretty much all day, every day. She talked about all things, big and small. Some days, she talked about the fact that it was snowing. Others, she reminded me of my promise to keep fighting. And yes, I heard every word.

That’s love.

When the cancer got so bad that I temporarily lost control of my bodily functions, Laura didn’t run away screaming, like a sane person. Instead, she got in the car, drove to Wall Mart, and bought some Depends undergarments. She treated it like it was just part of the disease. Of course, there were jokes. That’s just how we roll. And the jokes helped. But she never belittled me. She never made me feel ashamed. To her, it was just another thing to overcome.

That’s love.

Every time doubt would sink its teeth into my heart, Laura kept me strong. Whenever I started to cry about dying, Laura would always give me a very firm, “Stop it!” She always stayed firm that death was not an option.

That’s love.

After my surgery, I developed a wound right where my anus used to be. It bled constantly, so – until it healed – the dressing had to be changed daily. I had to lie back with my legs up (very much like a baby getting its diaper changed) while Laura cleaned and dressed the wound. She did this without hesitation.

That’s love.

Laura’s got her own disease to deal with (type 1 diabetes), but she handled that and she took care of me. For two years, she’s gone through absolute hell, all because I got cancer.

Absolute hell.

And she faced it down. She took care of me and all of my disgusting, embarrassing, painful complications. And trust me… what I’ve mentioned above is only the tip of the iceberg.

And never… not for a second… did she give the tiniest hint that she was about to give up and walk way from this nightmare.

She stood by me through it all, and she did it because she wasn’t ready to hand me over to the reaper.

That, my friends, is love.

10 years ago today, when I looked into her hypnotically beautiful eyes while we exchanged our vows, I assumed – because of her diabetes – that I would be the one taking care of her.

Fate had other plans.

Cancer has brought me pain and humiliation beyond measure. It has dehumanized me in ways I could never truly describe with something as crude as words.

But the love Laura has brought me dwarfs that pain.

If a genie came to me and said, “I will make it so you never got cancer, but the price will be that you’ll never have met Laura,” I would answer without hesitation.

I would say, “Bring on the cancer.”

Because Laura is worth it.

Happy anniversary, Laura.

Thank you for showing me what love is.


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