Love in Varying Degrees…

I pity people sometimes.

Not regular you and me common sense type people but sad sack lemming types that believe anything their half wit BFF tells them or gives weight to anything spoon fed to them by a reality show housewife; especially when it comes to love. If you let some people tell it, love is a unicorn dancing in a field of smurfberries being ridden sidesaddle by a mermaid. I mourn for those that don’t have examples of a love not shot through its heart with a high caliber rifle, I wish they could see it like I do, or have seen it like I have.

I’ve written here often about my parents, my worrywart father and my too-silly-for-her-own-good mother. Last month the two of them celebrated a half century of marriage. 50 years together, three children, two grandchildren, and a slew of adopted kids, most of which are my friends who know they can infiltrate our family functions and eat as much as they like without consequence. My mother’s favorite saying is that she hasn’t always liked Dad, but she never stopped loving him, and that’s what made staying together so easy. It’s easy to see a couple like that, that’s been together since the beginning of time seemingly, and say to yourself, “Man, that’s what love looks like right there!” and you wouldn’t be wrong. But that’s not the only face of love.

That beautiful couple is my boy Claude and his bride, Deonne. Claude is one of the “cool kids”, upwardly mobile, winning personality, and always had a pretty girl on his arm. Always. So much so that when I got the word that he was getting married I thought it was a joke, a big one. It wasn’t until I had a couple of conversations with him that I realized just how in love he was with this woman and that this was, in no way, a joke. I could hear the smile in his voice when he talked about her to me. I could tell that he had been reduced to the “aww shucks, blushing, and dragging your toe in the dirt” level which admittedly happens to us men when we’re legitimately struck by the love truck. It was a gorgeous Christmastime wedding, lit Christmas tree on the altar, decorations all over the church, it was really great, he was tuxed out and looking handsome, she was gowned out looking beautiful and both of them were really happy. Legitimately. It was a perfect day. I never take it lightly when I’m invited to weddings; it’s an honor that someone invites you to view their first steps towards forever with someone live and in person; I’m glad that I got to see my boy who had been transformed from Boomerang’s Marcus Graham to a brown-toned Ward Cleaver by his chocolate-skinned lady…and all indications were Claude wouldn’t have it any other way.

Not long after attending that wedding, perhaps a month later, Claude lost his wife. I didn’t quite know what to think other than thinking that it was a mite unfair. But fair ain’t got a damn thing to do with life, never has and my guess is that it won’t ever. But I was reminded of something my Dad told me a while ago when I asked him about being married; he told me, “All you can do is love a person as hard as you can for as long as you have them, that’s your job, if you do your job when it’s all done you’ve got nothing to hang your head about.” I immediately thought about Claude and Deonne because I know for the time they were together Claude did nothing but take care of his bride; it was his job after all. We never know how long we have, the only thing we can concern ourselves with is how we use the time we have with our loved ones. I’m glad that I’ve been presented with examples of love’s time management. Be it one month, or fifty years and one month, I’m blessed to have been given an opportunity to see couples fail to get cheated on their chance because they took advantage of the time they were and have been given…and I know they aren’t the only ones.

I pity people sometimes, the ones that think love deceased, and some fairy tale emotion that exists in far, far away. It lives and breathes and will find all of us one day and it’s going to be as good as we all make it. In the meantime, thank you to all of you that love unashamedly, continue to be a beacon to people that still search.

Love well, Mom and Dad.

Done well, Claude.

Rest well, Deonne.

~thanks for reading


  1. Man, if you ever find yourself doubting your talent/calling…….refer to this and understand how you managed to accomplish humor (Marcus Graham? Me? Marcus let a woman go because of her toes, me on the other hand……..Im more like his friend that Martin Lawrence played LOL) , sorrow, and spiritual resolve in 4 paragraphs just off the top of your head. Folks have a tough time talking about the situation when you go through something like this……..but your words perfectly echo where I live right now. The normal response is to think this is unfair. But most dont know how BLESSED I was (and still am) to be able to see the day of 12/17/2011. I had to come a long long way in less than 4 months, and God saw me through it……..Deonne taught me more in that little time about love (especially GOD’s love) than anyone has been able to teach me in my 45 years. I am not without emotional pain, but I am so much stronger and better able to handle it.

  2. Thank you Claude…thank you for taking the time to read it and for allowing me to honor what you guys had in some small way. From the outside looking in, what you two had was a pretty awesome thing.

  3. I just stumbled upon this post just by clicking on your feed &not having read you in sometime. I lost touch with Claude years back. I didn’t know about his joy in marriage or his sorrow in loss. I’m not even sure what to type. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. (((Michelle))) – hey there! Good to read you! Yes, I know thats a whole lot to stumble across, and a whole lot happened in a very short amount of time, no doubt. I do hope you and yours are doing well.

  5. claude–I’m doing well and I hope that you are as well. This blog post really was something. It was really nice to read about your love story and learn that someone brought you a great deal of joy–if only for a short time. I’m so sorry for your loss 😦 take care and stay up…


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