I spend my days writing love stories. Today is different, as I find myself reflecting on a love so real, so strong, so deep and true…that I don’t think it could ever be portrayed adequately in fiction. There are no words proficient enough to describe its intensity…its completeness.

If you are part of a certain circle of my friends, you may know the husband and wife pair I’m referring to. They used to walk down our town’s Main Street and over the bridge into the neighboring city every single night. My workday always ended with a mutual wave as they passed by my office window hand-in-hand, and regardless of what kind of day I had the exchange always brought a smile to my face.

Rarely are they ever seen anywhere together without their hands clutched in unity, his palm resting on her shoulder as she sits chatting at a dinner party, or her slender fingers wrapped around his forearm as they laugh and joke with friends—always touching, almost as if the love they have for one another welded them together in the simplest physical way.

As long as I’ve known them, they’ve been the most profound example of love. Their story is truly amazing: love-struck children since grade school, still love-struck adults even in their sixties. It’s hard to imagine one without the other—it’d be like setting the table with salt but not pepper or topping a salad with oil but not vinegar. It’d be like breathing air without oxygen.

Yet, last night our dear friend, Kathy, lost her long battle with cancer. In the beginning, she fought almost effortlessly; unlike anyone I’d ever seen battle the brutal disease. Her spirits always remained high and she continued to live a happy life, as always alongside her best friend and husband, Bob. A couple of months ago that all changed, and we knew the news wasn’t good.

It feels like I’ve spent weeks mourning already, as I’ve wondered countless times how one could ever survive without the other, and I know other friends have done the same.

The only thing I can consider as consolation is the well-versed quote from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem: “’Tis Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” This is the certainty when it comes to Bob and Kathy: They loved deeper than anyone I’ve ever known and truer and more completely than most will ever be lucky enough to experience, and they did so almost all of their lives here on earth. For them, the idea of ideal relationships found in novels was tangible in real-life. That is a blessing he will carry in his heart forevermore. ♥