Love is unconditional. If it’s conditional, it’s something else.
Relationships are conditional.
I can choose how much contact I have with a person and how attached I want to be to their behavior, but I cannot choose to un-love someone.
I am love, we are love. According to A course in Miracles only love is real. Perhaps in this life that is true. I experienced this through walking with my father in the last few months of his life.
I had a complicated and somewhat tumultuous relationship with my father, who was an addict like me. He got very sick when I had about 7 months clean, his body had had enough of his abuse and was giving up. He lived in another state, so many nights I would leave work, drive about an hour to make it just in time for visiting hours at the hospital, and then leave to make the end of a meeting. At the time I still believed in a God that I would pray to. I would pray on those drives “I’m not ready for him to die, but please help me accept whatever needs to happen for him”. My sponsor had told me that this time was about his life, not about me having a sick father. She helped me cultivate a humble perspective.
After about 5 months of trips back and forth to the hospital and his last minute attempts to get sober, we reached the time of the around the clock vigil. I stayed with my aunt, who he had been living with. We received the call in the early morning the day after his 57th birthday, it was time to be with him, he could no longer breathe on his own, it was time to say goodbye.
We sat on either side of him, each holding a hand. He couldn’t speak, but seemed like he wanted to tell me something. We looked into each other’s eyes and I kept telling him “it’s ok, I love you, I know you love me”. A few minutes later he was still. I felt the whole room fill with his spirit, and in that moment, whatever was between us that wasn’t love was gone. All the blame, resentment and unmet expectations were gone. All that was left was what is real. A father’s love for his daughter, and her love for him.
It’s been almost 13 years since that day, and I still experience waves of grief, especially when I see my father in my son. The love that we have for each other is unconditional, it has not changed, it has been completely uncovered since the day he died. We have a different relationship now, but the love is the same.
Love is real and unconditional.