Love is Pain! Pain is Love! Inextricably intertwined, these two emotions are the innate essence of what it means to be human. Pain is both an emotion and a literal response to stimulus, either from inside the body or the outside world acting on the body. Love is a feeling, an emotion that is expressed with words and actions, but I had always thought of love as a metaphysical creation of the human response to the world. All of this changed when I first laid eyes on Palmer. Love became true pain, an unconditional and eternal intersecting of these two emotions. Love was no longer metaphysical, it was real, tangible. I could taste it, breathe it in, and touch it. Love was Palmer, and Palmer was love.
Understanding became irrelevant. Palmer is the air I breathe, and as natural as breathing is, so too is loving and protecting Palmer. Palmer’s fight was derived from an innate strength given to him in his mother’s womb. Unconditional love for my son, as I peered into his soul by way of his overt stares into mine, was the fuel that ignited my fight for him. But why does such pain and hardship exist?
I have asked this question to the Lord too many times to count. I do not believe this question can be answered fully, but through our journey I have come to certain conclusions that allow me to rise each day. Because pain is love, and love is pain, it is impossible to have true love without true pain. Furthermore, pain is not the creation of the Lord; it is a byproduct of actions we as humans choose to take each day. Pain is our response to the hardships that occur naturally in the world. Theologians will point to the Garden of Eden and the creation of sin as the reason for the existence of hardship and pain. I will leave this argument to those holier than thou.
No matter the reason for hardship to exist, it is reality. My reality is the pain and suffering of losing my one and only child, my son, my light, my legacy. My recognizing that pain is love allows me to understand that pain caused by hardship can only be defeated by love. Hardship is not the absence of love, it is the denial of love. It is impossible to deny my love for Palmer. Hardship will not defeat my love for Palmer. My love for Palmer, and the overwhelming urge to honor my son’s life means I must never succumb to hardship’s cruel intentions. If I were to falter and allow hardship to destroy all that I have become, I would fail to honor my son. This is my one true purpose. Through the strength of the Lord, family, and friends, and an unconditional love for which the flame can never be extinguished, I rise each day to honor Palmer.