The passing of my Bella this past fall and the depth of that loss, has caused me to spend a great deal of time reflecting on what is truly important in my life. Obviously, my children are at the top of that list. The life that we have, that we’ve created from scratch together is beyond my wildest expectations. I will forever wonder why God chose to bless me with my Aleutia and Elias, but it has given a depth to my life experience that never existed prior to their accompaniment. What we have is true, it’s real, and it’s eternal. It is a bond of love that will never be broken by time. It is God’s greatest gift – love.

In reflecting on this, I began to consider what other true things I’ve had in my life. Surprisingly, at 46, I found the list quite small. After the love of my children, and my companion Bella, I can only point to a few relationships that have been the glue which has kept me together over all these years. The dear friend who’s always been by my side despite our completely disparate lives, and a few family members who’ve never faltered.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to grow up experiencing unconditional love. It is something I work hard to demonstrate to my children. The opposite is conditional love, which is destructive. It teaches you to be mistrustful, guarded, and insecure because you never know when your love will be rebuffed for some slight or when it will be accepted again.

Instead, I teach my children that no matter what they do, they can always count on my love. Sometimes, I might need a moment to regroup after I’m upset with them. If I do, I always make a point to hold them afterwards and tell them they are loved. I want them to be strong, confident, and trusting of other people.  If you trust love, then you can embrace life with an open heart and without fear of reprisal.

So, my epiphany, after this thought process and thinking about my future, has been that I only seek one thing in life. Most people talk about their “bucket list,” as they get older, which is typically a list of things to do before they die. While that would be an adventure, I seek something deeper, something that will outlast me. I seek the kind of love that I can only call “the one true thing.” The kind that has the same magic I share with my children and like my love with them will not only stand the test of time, but live beyond.  This love can come in many forms and doesn’t necessarily have to be romantic. Just as long as it’s real, it’s true and I can count on it to anchor me for the rest of my life.

Because, really, it is those “one true things” that have kept me afloat over the course of my life and helped me navigate the roughest waters. Without them, I fear where I would be and I recognize how much I need them. I do not have a “bucket list,” I only have this – to find that “one true thing, and if I do, to hold onto it tenaciously, courageously, and with a passion that only those seeking anchors like myself can understand. Image