Recently I was reminded of the language of love.
My parents had delved into some old family letters which had been stored away for several years, unseen in a trunk. The letters were dated from the Second World War years and I sat down to read a pile of them with my parents and daughter.
We firstly marvelled at the neat small handwriting, almost always written in pencil, and how well-preserved they were. We noted the compact envelopes and colourful stamps. Then the most obvious thing we noticed was the language.
Every single letter was filled with the language of love
One of my dad’s close relatives was a young man in his twenties. Just as war broke out, he married his sweetheart and became a Lance Corporal in the 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment. He trained in Yorkshire and fought in Burma.*
Each of his letters had been kept by Dad’s family, written while he was away during the Second World War.
They were addressed to his parents and sisters and every line was filled with expressions of warmth and love towards them.
There were little jokes and reminders of funny things that had happened in their lives together. And always included requests to pass on cuddles to their family dogs.
He told them how much he loved to receive their letters and hear about all they were doing. Yet also supported them with words of strength as their war experiences included the bombings in London. He thanked them all for being kind to his young wife.
Love, memories and kisses xxx
Other aunts, grandparents and husbands, all sent and received letters filled with similar reassurances. Quiet, unassuming language spoke of love, memories and kisses. And always with hope and good humour!
Postscript: For Gweno by Alun Lewis (1915-1944)
If I should go away,
Beloved, do not say
‘He has forgotten me’.
For you abide,
A singing rib within my dreaming side;
You always stay…
Our language of love today
Today we’ve been doing something a little similar during the Covid pandemic.
Although the art of letter-writing has been lost, we send our messages of love and reassuring updates through texts and phone-calls. These keep us in the loop with family and friends. Through everyday exchanges we know that we are loved and try our best to express love.
However simple and true, our human desire is for the language of love.
In times of difficulty, it seems that our open hearts naturally lift us up with hope and courage. We support ourselves and our loved-ones by holding on to balance, even while we feel fear or loneliness.
Our loving hearts keep us all connected. And this fierce heart fire expresses itself in the language of love.
*Lance Corporal Frederick never returned home from Burma. He was a soldier for 4 years during the war and was killed, aged 27, on 11 June 1944.
And wartime today: ‘A Hope more Powerful than the Sea’ by Melissa Fleming (The Journey of Syrian Refugee Doaa Al Zamel)
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Guide