The only regret I will have in dying is if it is not for love.
-Gabriel Garcia Marquez, from Love in the Time of Cholera
Love in the Time of Cholera explores the many iterations of love—love as illness, tenderness, unrequited, love as “ideal” and love as “depraved”. As we approach Mother’s Day in the States, I find myself thinking a lot about the iteration of maternal love.
I’m a mother. I have a mother. I have been “mothered” by many amazing women who have shaped my life in tremendously powerful ways. I think about these women and the effect they have had on my life. I think about my own mothering—the high and low moments, the lessons learned and the unexpected moments of bliss. And so often I feel like Lady Justice holding the scales, trying to balance positive and negative, and not slip into self-deprecating thinking.
That’s precisely why these lines shot straight through my heart when I read them this morning! Garcia Marquez probably wasn’t thinking about the complexities of maternal love when he wrote these lines to describe a character suffering from unrequited love, but for me they certainly did! I felt Garcia Marquez asking me—what is worth dying for? The answer is simple. Love.
But more than dying for love, these words showed me that I live for love. These words showed me that, while my love is not faultless, it is and always has been the underlying focus of my life. And so it is for many of us. We’re not perfect mothers or daughters or friends or partners, but we are trying our best. We have trauma and pain and ghosts. And despite and through all of this, we love, we learn, and hopefully we grow every day.
So in this world that sometimes feels so broken and confused, and is filled with so many in need of love, let us remind ourselves to live for love. And that starts with ourselves.