All of this made me think about relationships and about, well, love. Love is the underlying connector between people. When we talk about love we tend to talk about it in romantic terms or in terms of family. Love, in the context of non-family, non-romantic relationships seems watered down and not the "real thing". People talk about finding their "one true love" as if all the other love in their life was false. Especially when friends and lovers slip out of our lives, the love seems to become null and void, to fade in validity as time goes on. When friendships fade away we talk about the love in past tense: "We used to be friends. I used to love him."
I would like to argue that we extend and empower our definition of love to include friendships, past and present. Even when there is no longer a practical connection, there is still love. I can love an infinite number of people but I can only keep in contact with a limited few. But that doesn't mean that I love the ones I fell out of touch with any less truly.
If I say, "I still love Crazy Pot Farmer", it sounds as if I am IN LOVE with him in this complicated way and can't move on. But that isn't the case. Crazy Pot Farmer and I had/have an on-again-off-again mutually abrasive friendship where we most of the time enjoyed annoying the crap out of one another. Like many friendships it was casual. We would connect every now and again when life threw us together.
But the casualness of our relationship doesn't discredit the times we did connect or the lastingness of that connection. Crazy Pot Farmer, while crazy, is also one of my kindred spirits. It is rare to feel as if you really know someone at the core of who they are, to feel as if their soul and your soul walked out of all the things which usually bind us and went swimming together. When this happens craziness and compatibility and lifestyle don't matter because the soul knows nothing of socially acceptable behavior. I was never in love with Crazy Pot Farmer. We were/are friends with occasional benefits but there is still true love there.
The last time I saw him was at his mom's house. I was there visiting and he was there with his girlfriend. We were all swimming. He and I were polite socially but a little aloof (I'm sure he didn't want the girlfriend to know that we used to be lovers) until we bumped into each other in the garage. Nobody else was around and for a moment we exchange a few sentences about the house and a photo on the fridge from the old days. But in that 2.5 minutes we exchanged lifetimes of intimacy and friendship. On the surface our human mouths were moving and words were being exchanged. But underneath all that our souls were doing somersaults on the trampoline. And then we went back out into the real world and our souls went back into hiding.
Just because Crazy Pot Farmer's soul and my soul are no longer practicing their synchronized swimming routine every week or that our bodies are no longer having sex every now and again doesn't mean that the connection is any less valid. Sex might be in the past tense now but our souls live on. Even if Crazy Pot Farmer's brain doesn't.
A serious accident like Crazy Pot Farmer's is far more traumatic for the people who are a part of his daily life and who have been a part of his daily life for as long as he has been alive. His mother, for instance, raised him as a single mother from the time she was 15 years old. I am not trying to compare our little soul dance with theirs. I am just trying to say that the love which exists in the nooks and crannies of life isn't any less true than the love people share in broad daylight.