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Love exceeds all

Posted: October 20, 2011 11:31 a.m.
Updated: October 21, 2011 5:00 a.m.

“I said to my soul be still and wait without hope; for hope would be hope for the wrong thing.’’-T.S Eliot.

Loss is a four-letter word. It is defined when something or someone good in our life is taken. It may leave a hole in our heart as wide as a canyon or tiny as an opening into an ant hill.

Love is a four-letter word. It is defined as the string of the stitches that heal the wound in our heart. It may help close the gap that pain has left, or repair at least a little of the ache.

Love has been a constant four-letter word in my vocabulary. My whole life I’ve been blessed to know nothing else but the love of family, friends, and faith. Loss was a silent whisper in the background, but the sanction of childhood naiveness has kept the pain from loss at a minimum.
Until recently.

He called my sister and me his “Prayer Angels,” as printed clearly and distinctively on the back of the program at his funeral. Yet what Mr. Joel Cassidy didn’t know, was that he was the real angel in our lives, in mine. He was the man who we always looked forward to seeing after church, to get one of his classic, good hugs. He was the Gamecock-loving man who always struck up conversations with our dad about the latest USC football or baseball game. He was the man I loved like a grandfather who always made me feel special.

I’ve truly experienced the cycles of grief after he passed away, and I’m still dealing with them today. It took me months before I’ve felt capable of simply putting down my raw emotions I’ve juggled on paper. Yet, I want to make a tribute to him now. I want to thank him for all the things he gave me over the years growing up, but especially for the love. A love that made me feel extraordinary and sometimes without words but with his actions, he spoke in abundance of his unwavering support and care for me.

The loss I felt with his death made that whisper a loud, distinctive shout. My heart has ached for the loss of his life selfishly because I didn’t want him to leave this world to join God in the next. I wanted to be able to still feel him hug me on a Sunday or hear his voice when he and my dad would strike up the traditional conversation of Carolina sports.

Yet, this is where that four-letter word of love becomes tricky because if you love someone then you want what’s best for them. That’s the part I’ve been struggling with. I didn’t want him to be in pain anymore, so hoping for him to be here on Earth still would be hoping for the wrong thing. I selfishly wish he was still here, yes, but I’m coming to terms with the fact that because I love him I have to accept his death and let him go. Instead, I focus on holding onto the new hope of our heavenly reunion one day. A reunion where I’ll meet him on the other side where there is no more pain or suffering.

That’s the universal, underlying meaning of love. It exceeds the boundaries of earth and heaven. It bonds us with those that we love, both living and dead. It helps create in our heart a hope of future where only love, not loss, exists. That is the light we must grip when all seems dark, a light of hope borne in the midst of love.

(Rebecca Rowell is a contributing columnist for the C-I from Lugoff-Elgin High School and can be reached at


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