Life is not safe. You can't protect yourself from heartbreak. No matter how hard you try. If you love, you're at risk for loss.
Gut-wrenching, god-awful, soul-searing loss.
Within the last week, two separate friends lost their daughters. The two women don't know each other; the deaths weren't connected. One mother lost her 20-something daughter after a heroic two-year battle with leukemia. The other mother was awoken in the night by police pounding on her door bearing the message that her 30-year-old daughter had died in her sleep. The young woman had a blood disorder, but it was being treated. Her death was a complete surprise.
Just like that, one week two beautiful young women are alive. The next week, they're dead. And the people who loved them have a hole in their heart forever.
Here's the worst part: This happens every single day.
Every day, thousands of people die. War, starvation, murder, disease, accidents -- we know this. Yet somehow we walk around pretending that we actually have control over our domain, that we can protect ourselves from hurt.
Then someone close dies, and all the illusion is stripped away.
It's like being belted in the gut by a two-by-four. It's the god-awful reality of love: You're never safe.
If there is a person, or people, that you love out there in the world, walking around, driving a car, exposing themselves to germs, or even just aging, you are not safe.
A knock at the door, a mutated cell, and suddenly you're the one being hit by the two-by-four.
You don't entertain this horrific possibility in the early stages of love. Your new baby, partner or friend fills you with happiness.
The horrendous reality doesn't hit you until you're already too far gone.
It's only when you are already deeply emotionally attached that you realize, by daring to love, you are risking unbearable loss.
The searing reality of it is enough to make you double over.
What does one do with this information?
How do you live your life knowing that you are one door knock away from having your heart ripped out of your body?
There are basically three choices:
1) You can limit your love. Living a small life protecting your heart every chance you get.
2) You can worry. Holding your breath every time they leave the house, searching Web MD at every symptom, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
3) You can throw caution to the wind and love deeply. You can fearlessly open your heart, live in the moment and shower the people you care about with every bit of love and passion you possess.
It's risky for sure. You could be hurt. In fact, if you dare to love deeply, it's highly probable that at some point you will be hurt deeply.
There is no way around it because the other two choices don't really work. Limiting love limits happiness. You're not really protecting your heart; you're punishing it.
As for worrying, it doesn't keep your beloved safer. It just prevents you from fully enjoying them.
So that's what we're left with: The risk of love.
It's sad, it's ugly, and it's worth it.
Take the risk, choose love.
Lisa Earle McLeod is the author of several books including "Selling with Noble Purpose: How to Drive Revenue and Do Work That Makes You Proud."