Lia draws all the love she can offer from the bottomless pockets of her soul, more so these days: tiny flowers from roadside weeds, a bouquet of star-shaped paper roses painstakingly crafted from tips to roots, handmade notes, hugs, kisses, even snacks from her own money.
Amid silences, she wraps me in heartwarming affirmations. “Mama, you are the best – in words, in beauty, in kindness. Mama, you are the best mom and I am proud of you. Mama, you complete my life. Mama, you’re a goddess and the smartest, most understanding, most LGBTQ-friendly, most beautiful, kindest human being on earth. I love you so much and I choose you. Every day.”
I don’t tell her to do any of these. Often I don’t even speak about the shards in my chest, but she knows. She comes home carrying these offerings to remind me that despite losing some, love exists in all shapes, textures, depths, and ways. That my life is always brimming with it. Because of her. Because of the ride or die friends who sit on my boat, take the oar from my hands when I am too languid to row, and paddle relentlessly, so I can once again reach the shore.
I take all that she and my friends are giving me, bask in their light, and weep. How warm, enchanting, and life-affirming the gift of love is, in whatever form it is. Yes, even those that have moved on to a different season. Even those that we have lost.