I was reminded recently that the movie The Moulin Rouge has a great soundtrack. Listening again, the song which struck me most was ‘Come What May’. Now, it does contain some lyrics about the world seeming such a perfect place, which quite frankly, is presently untrue. Nevertheless it seems to say in song, what we see in love. You can see love between siblings, between partners, between dear friends, between parents and children (no matter how old the parent and child now are). I wonder if in these days we are so scared because we love so much? We may have actually forgotten this. Forgotten how much we love those we love. Those we love most have shifted in recent days, from being in the background of our lives and perhaps taken for granted, to being our solid ground on which so much depends. We had forgotten to remember how wonderful life is with them in the world. And now the fear is, with this Coronavirus that has the potential to end a life, that we may lose someone we love.
This prospect of course breaks our heart. It always has and it always will. Facing the death of someone we love no matter what the cause or how young or old they are is unbearable. Poet Mary Oliver explains it like this in her poem ‘In Blackwater Woods’
‘To live in this world
you must to be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go’
This is why songs like this matter because they reminds us to tell each other that ‘I love you… until the end of time’. We love them, ‘come what may’. This is important because illness threatens all that we cling to, it changes how we look and what we can do, it threatens our identity. Illness can strip us of all the things we believe make us valuable and beautiful. The amazing thing about working in healthcare is that you get to see that people are valuable and beautiful and innately worthy anyway. Even when you find yourself at your lowest ebb, when your mortality is very evident, even then you are cared for. And you will see that those who love you, love you anyway. Love you with and without your job, or achievements, or fancy haircut, clean home, full diary, or exercise regime. They love you when you are racked with illness. Come what may. Now is a good time to assure one another of that love, come what may. It may help us to feel less afraid.