Can romantic love burn bright even in the face of imminent death? Yes, it can, and it happens all the time. Is there such a thing as love at first sight? Absolutely! Nowadays there is a general shyness to use the phrase “love at first sight.” One blushes to say it. The world is far too cynical and jaded to embrace the idea that two people can fall in love simply by looking at each other. And yet, despite the risks of romantic love (disappointments, disillusion, and disenchantments), each new generation believes in the possibility of love at first sight. They believe it so much their hearts ache to dream about it. History and literature, art and music are all replete with proclamations of love at first sight.
My wife and I are seventy. More than fifty years ago, we were two young people who experienced love at first sight. That initial spark of love grew into an open flame that has warmed our hearts for over half a century. But we know we are in the last chapter of our love story, and foreboding reminders of living without the other are never far from our minds.
If there is love and first sight—a beautiful moment when time stands still—then surely there must be love at last glance before an aged lover looks into his or her spouse’s eyes for the last time—that heartbreaking moment when death descends.
The death of a mate does not change the truth that true love lives on in the memories and dreams of the one who is left behind. True romantic love has love for God at its foundations. God is the author of love. He makes romance deepen. He created marriage and raised it to a Sacrament. Love is what gives purpose and meaning to life … and death. We need not fear the future, the Creator of love is there. Christ is with us.
“To love or to have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life. To love is a consummation.” — Victor Hugo