Today it suddenly occurred to me, that love has a sound. I realised this when I conducted a funeral service, and the man sitting directly in front of me, heaved throughout the entire service. It was a sound I had not heard before. He was in tremendous pain, having lost his mother after an eight year battle with illness. The pain for him was almost too much for him to bear.
At the end of the service, he went up to her coffin and stood before his mother one last time. And he heaved, and he heaved, that sound again. His sister came and stood next to him. He put his arm around her and she quietly wept. Their father stood the other side of him, frail and silent, and said goodbye one last time, to his wife of 54 years.
The sound of love by these three people were in complete contrast to one another, yet I heard them all.
I realised at that very moment, that love has a sound.
I flashed back to the love I had for my first born son, the moment I gave birth to him and he was laid on my stomach. A flood of emotions engulfed me, I was completely overwhelmed. I burst into the happiest of tears and couldn’t stop myself from crying, like really crying. I was so overwhelmed with love. Love has a sound.
I thought of my second son, delivered under emergency caesarean 17 months later. We thought we were losing him. I screamed and I screamed as the doctors and nurses worked quickly to cut open my stomach, take hold of him and deliver him into this world. After a short time they placed him on my chest, all the while I continued to sob out loud at the traumatic turn of events. I sobbed for many days after that. Love has a sound.
I recalled when I first met my boys father, and the months following when we fell madly in love. We talked, we laughed like two little children, we cuddled, we kissed, we made love. Love has a sound.
And then I remembered when he ended our marriage, suddenly. I sobbed quietly in my bed, for many months, trying to stay strong for my two boys and not wanting to worry them. Love has a sound.
I remembered the sound of my two boys playing together, laughing and carrying on, with not a care in the world. They are silly, they are funny, they joke, their life is free from stress and worry. Love has a sound.
I thought of all the times when I see lovers walking by, hand in hand, in silence. Their love has a sound. The adult children I see caring for their elderly parents, that too has a sound. When I am with my dear friends, laughing and sharing stories, our love for one another has a sound.
And then my mind flashed to the several hundred families I have met over the last 8 ½ years who have lost a loved one. Their love too, has a sound.
I hear a person’s most inner thoughts about love, when their love one passes. I hear the love a child has for their parent, when their parent passes. I hear the love a parent has for a child when their child passes. The first time I ever heard that was when a mother laid to rest her 60 year old daughter. It was a wailing sound that I had not heard before. A love so strong she was unable to stop herself from piercing the large hall filled with people, with her cries. I have never forgotten that sound.
Just like I will never forget that sound of love from today when a son said goodbye to his mother for the last time. That heaving sound, that sound of being completely consumed by his loss and by his love. It was the sound of trying to comprehend a whole new world without his Mum.
I hear hearts break every day, and those hearts breaking are all the sounds of love. I don’t work in the death industry, I work in an industry of LOVE. I call it ‘The Love in Death’.
Have you ever entered a cemetery and noticed the sound? It is a sound that is quite distinct from any other. It is so peaceful, and quiet. That is the sound of pure love.
We are all unique. And just as we have unique DNA and unique fingerprints, the sound of our love is also unique.
Working with families dealing with the loss of a loved one, has taught me many things, but none more so than what it has taught me about love – and that our love has a sound.