A Satisfying Read

Yesterday’s Modern Love tackled the love grown, lost, and recuperated between a couple that was married for 20 years, divorced for several subsequently, and then found themselves back together just before and through a bout of potentially terminal illness.

But it isn’t depressing or upsetting, it’s uplifting and encouraging — replete with realities that are stripped from the nuances of the fictional stories we tell ourselves in order to, as Joan Didion once pointed out, live.

I tend to measure how satisfying a read is by how urgently I feel like I must to share said read and this morning, while I was walking on a treadmill, I stopped short to e-mail this link to 9 of my closest friends, thinking about my handful of other close friends (that’s you) and how I’d share it again. I included two quotes from the story in my e-mail so I’m enclosing them now, too.

“Nobody writes songs about sitting on the edge of the tub while a man applies topical antibiotics to your oozing skin graft. There are no poetic odes to women with gaping scars, no sonnets to men who may be wearing the same shirt for the third day in a row.”

“Love isn’t a fortress. It isn’t a locked room. It’s full of doors and windows and escape hatches, and they’re not scary. They’re how, to paraphrase Leonard Cohen, the light gets in.”

Click over, read it, get full and then come back and vomit out whatever you’re thinking.

[A Second Embrace, With Hearts and Eyes Open via The New York Times]

  • nothing is impossible and you can’t predict love. quoting leonard cohen will get you closer to it though.

  • Wow great read! Shared with all my close friends. Hehe. I think it’s worth a try in her case since after all the years they have changed from their old selves. Because I can’t imagine going back to the same person she had broken up with after going through the hardship she implied.

  • S

    This is beautiful…thank you so much for sharing. I so understand this journey…having spent 20 years of my 40 years with a man…and the child – the child is the ultimate gift of the union and the ultimate complicator when you realize the union should not continue…marrying for love of another does not mean in the end you will have married for love of yourself…and after enough time often these two change course and go separate ways…my divorce will be final this year and many have hinted that a reunion is inevitable because of the amicable nature of our course correction – and that is ultimately how I see it – course correction…not that it was wrong – just time to realign with the reality of now and the reality of who each of us it and where we want to go…I do not think to reconcile aspects of our former relationship and I do not want this type of reunion…nor do I feel compelled to throw the baby out with the bath water – I intend to honor myself, my journey, my history…and if either of us was to get a (potentially) terminal diagnosis I believe the friendship that was always the foundation of the original union would continue…for me, I think the closer “truth”, is you don’t always stay with someone you love…you can actually love from afar and sometimes that is the most loving way to honor a change in course…an ultimately the most loving act for yourself and your child.

  • leandra,

    you have me close to tears at my work desk. this story that you shared is so close to my heart and my own personal experiences. my parents, married for over 30 years, experienced a brief period of separation. following their separation, they acted as the young 20-year olds who had started dating fresh out of high school and were married before they reached 22. sadly, a year after their reconciliaiton my father passed from kidney cancer. at only 55 years old, my mom was left as a widow to 4 twenty-something daughters; however, that year that my parents had together- the year of their reconciliation, was quite possibly the best year of their entire marriage. i have grown to believe that sometimes good things truly do fall apart to created something even better. i do sometimes think that maybe if my parents had never been separated, my dad would have gotten more checkups and she would have realized his silently declining health, but we can never know that that would have been the case. what we do know, is that my parents (and in turn, my entire family) had a beautiful year filled with so much love and hope.

    once again, thank you for sharing this beautiful article.

  • The most powerful line for me from the article was. “We accept that you can’t always keep the promises you made when you were barely above drinking age. You can’t know how you will change, or what life will throw at you.” Literally got a cold chill. Thanks for the good read!!!

  • Tiana Bayliss

    This is a beautiful piece to get me going for the day. I love!

  • Aubrey Green

    I’m now crying at work. I think that it’s important to be friends with your significant other; I think we forget that. If your friend needed to venture off to London, you would be sad to see them go, but love them enough to say goodbye – that’s how it should be with your significant other (to have the ability to let them go, not that you want to). Someone once said, “love never dies, it just takes a different course..” – I feel like that article symbolizes that.

  • me

    Modern Love essays often make me cry: the truths they reveal can be so lovely & touching & ultimately uplifting.

    ML is one of the best columns in the NYT (and in print media, writ large) ….