The True Meaning of Love: A Part of My Heart

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Life is hard.Deena and Pete

I was not prepared for a “hard life” when I was a child.  Difficulties were hidden, whispered about and kept secret. I was daddy’s little girl, funny, carefree and invincible!

Then I suddenly and shockingly learned how raw life could be having a critically ill child.  Navigating the unknown highways of illness while keeping our family alive and loving without getting lost seemed impossible.

Its natural to want to hide pain, run from it, and keep it behind closed doors. So when it came to us, when life threw that curve ball – we were shocked, angry, and wanted to run– instead of saying to ourselves and to each other – “life happens and so do curve balls; we will get through this.”  It took us time to be able to say and understand that.

Pete and I were brought up in a “disposable society.”  I did not realize that until we had real problems, and I was forced to think about it… that we were living with an insidious and subliminal message that anything can be replaced if its broken (even people).

Pete and I, as so many other families with a sick or disabled child or family member, had to fight through our journey our own way in order to find the answers. We were lucky that we were able to look into each others eyes, cry together, and hold each others’ hands.  And when we couldn’t, we were most lucky that we were able to find courage and forgiveness…

We stayed strong for each other when the other was weak.  We cried, too.  We felt alone.  It was not easy.  It was never easy.  It is still not always easy.  We fought for our love, our relationship, and our life.  Staying together and loving despite the unknown highways of having a sick child feels triumphant.

Life is hard; it is imperfect; it is challenging.  When you say,”I love you,” today, will you mean, “I accept this challenge? I agree to stand by you during the most difficult and trying times?”  It’s easy to love when you are having fun… but if you are able to love when tested in every cell of your body – that is LOVE.

Maya Angelou Hope Quote | Island Dolphin CareLove, true love, is respect, caring, holding the hand of someone you love, not just when you are happy (that is the easy part)… but true love is grasping hands, never letting go, holding hands close to your heart when you are mad, when things are the toughest, when you don’t understand the other person’s reaction or grief, when you need so desperately the acknowledgment of something that the other person is not getting or giving.  True love, as said so wisely by Maya Angelou: “….recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at it’s destination full of hope.”

I feel blessed that when I look into the eyes of those that I love.  And I am blessed to know that when I say “I love you,” my “loves” understand and know what that truly means…

True love is down right hard, nitty gritty, and really bad sometimes.  True love is labor, giving birth, hearing that first cry – joyous.

There is nothing else like it.

When you say, “I love you” today, what will you mean?

I am not embarrassed to say out loud or to you, “Thank you, Peter Hoagland.  You are the love of my life.  Thank you for loving me and allowing me to love you. It is our 38th wedding anniversary!  You are the breath of my soul…. Triumphant!”

True love has no boundaries.


Want to read more? Breaths that Count by Deena Hoagland available on Breaths That Count

9 Responses to “The True Meaning of Love: A Part of My Heart”

  1. Mary Beth Decker says:

    Dear Deena,
    You and Peter have always been an amazing couple. Being around when life through you some of the greatest challenges taught me to persevere through the storms. Watching the two of you demand normalcy for Joe when he came home following his surgery taught me what respect and love can bring to any situation.

    You and Peter are inspiring. I can only hope in the light of a challenge I handle it with courage and grace I witnessed between the two of you.

    Cheers to 38 more years of love, laughter, and memories!!

    Much love, Mary Beth


    might try to make it but certainly want to donate! Love the blog. Miss you guys!!!

  3. Christopher and Anthony Sapp says:

    Happy Anniversary Deena and Pete. The Sapp brothers Anthony and Christopher

  4. Jan Guggenheimer says:

    Happy, Happy Anniversary you two!! I knew you when………….you were falling in love :0) Deena, I so appreciate your blog entry. What a special woman you are. Love you both. Jan

  5. Larry Smith (Smitty) says:

    Happy Anniversary, Pete & Deena. Would love to see you guys next time you are in Jupiter. Enjoy your special day and each other. Smitty

  6. Jeff Haas says:

    Happy anniversary you guys. Wonderful to have known you both at the beginning and through your journeys.


  7. Beth & Logan Bell says:

    Beautifully written! Congratulations to you both! Peace and blessing during this very special day!

  8. Teresa metcalf says:

    Wonderful looking forward to hearing more about what you do..It is a long way ftom rumsonteresa metcalf

  9. Laura Hoff says:

    Happy Anniversary to two amazing people! I hope the coming year brings you many blessings! Sending you love from Texas, Laura & Evan Hoff

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