ENID, Okla. —
Love changes everything.
It is not only one of life’s basic truths, but the title of a beautiful song from the somewhat obscure Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, “Aspects of Love.”
“Love, love changes everything, how you live and how you die,” is one line of the lyric.
Everybody loves and everybody is loved, even the most unlovable people. Misers love money, gluttons love food, unhappy people love taking out their frustrations on others.
Even the most wretched among us, serial killers and the like, have to have been lovable to someone, at some brief point in their lives.
For the lucky among us, love blossoms into something greater, for the truly blessed it binds their heart to that of another, for the very fortunate it entwines them in a lifelong dance of joy.
In 2011, 2.1 million couples were married, a rate of 6.8 weddings for every 1,000 Americans.
That same year there were 3.6 divorces per 1,000 members of the population. Many more couples live together without being married.
The average U.S. marriage lasts about eight years, according to statistics. For the lucky, and the strong, their unions last far longer.
Just days ago, Helen Felumlee of Nashport, Ohio, died at the age of 92. She left behind her husband of 70 years, Kenneth.
Helen and Kenneth were among the lucky ones. They held hands every morning at breakfast. They were virtually inseparable. They once went as far as to squeeze together into a bottom bunk bed to spend the night rather than to sleep apart.
Kenneth wasn’t left behind very long. He passed away only about 15 hours after Helen. He simply couldn’t live without her.
Shirley Hyman wondered how she was going to go on without her beloved husband, Moe, when he was dying a few years ago.
Shirley is featured in a video series on YouTube, called “Humans of New York.” In her interview, Shirley said she asked her dying husband, “Moe, how am I supposed to live without you?”
Moe replied, “Take the love you have for me and spread it around.”
One of my nephews is right now asking himself the same question. Today we will gather to say farewell to his wife of nearly 25 years, who passed away recently at the far-too-young age of 48.
He was away on business when she lay down for a nap one Sunday afternoon. Their 17-year-old daughter tried to wake her after awhile, but she was gone.
Now the family, which consists of an older daughter who is married with a child of her own, the 17-year-old and a 15-year-old boy, who is autistic, must go on without her, spreading the love they shared with her.
What a beautiful concept, spreading the love felt for a departed loved one among other family, friends and even perfect strangers.
What better way to honor the memory of a lost loved one, and perhaps to fill just a tiny portion of the yawning chasm left in your life as a result of their death. Spreading that love just might make someone else’s life better, if not yours.
Shirley Hyman concluded her “Humans of New York” interview by revisiting Moe’s words.
“A love spread around. There, beauty is found.”
Hold the ones you love close as long as you can. Don’t take any time spent with them for granted. Far too soon they will be gone. But when they are, try and make something beautiful from the hurt left by their passing by sharing their love with others around you.
The Andrew Lloyd Webber song concludes with the words, “Yes love, love changes everything. Live or perish, in its flame. Love will never, never let you be the same.”
And so it won’t.
Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.