By Rosalba Stocco, MSW, RSW and Jacqueline Johnson, M.A.
So what is your favorite love story? What is it about? Take a moment, breathe, remember, and take it in. How does your body respond to the images that come up? Is it a story from a movie, a book, or your history?
Let’s reflect on the best love stories of all time. As you reflect on the stories, notice how your body greets each story. Does it welcome the narrative fondly, or does it become numb, cold, or indifferent?
Romeo and Juliet were written by Shakespeare in 1597 and was made into a very popular movie in 1968: A story of two young people who chose to die so as to be together for eternity. I remember crying and feeling a heavy sensation in my body while watching the movie.
The Notebook (2004): I noticed feeling sad and shedding tears at the final scene, followed by a sense of relief with an appreciation of the couple being spared the pain of being apart.
Love Story (1970): It is interesting that this story does not invoke physical sensations or emotions for me even though the two young lovers are separated by illness and death. This story offers me some hope because the young man continues to live and I’m optimistic that he will learn to love again.
Feeling my parents’ love story
And now I think of my parents’ love story. I think of their passionate, loud Italian fights. I smile even though I can remember my indignant righteousness at the time. Our family fights would certainly not have been cleared by prime time TV.
I think of my father’s funeral, the tears and the anger that followed. Yet there is also a quiet acceptance that all is well. My breathing is regular and deep.
I remember the 6 months before my mother died and the dream she shared that was most telling. I become still and wonder if she and my father are truly dancing together. I want to congratulate them on overcoming so many obstacles, so much pain. I wonder how they might receive me when I join them when the time is right. Most of all, I notice how warm and full my body feels as I become aware of an overwhelming sense of pride and gratitude for these two uneducated peasants who had more honour, integrity, and resilience than most people I know.
It took me a long time to truly love and appreciate who they were and what they truly gave me and my children with their presence. It may surprise you that I also love and appreciate them more with their emotional and physical absence. As it was in what they did not give me that gave me permission to be who I am today.
Reach out today
To learn more about reclaiming the love stories of our families and gaining a new perspective on what love truly means, stay tuned for Rosalba and Jacqueline’s new book Love Stories of our Families.
Rosalba helps individuals, couples, and families heal and live a more productive, harmonious life. To book an appointment or to find out more about how Systemic Family Constellations therapy can help you, reach out today. You can call or fill out the contact form.
About Jacqueline Johnson, M.A.
Jacqueline Johnson M.A. is a nationally recognized writer, editor. As an adult educator in language and life skills training, she has developed a reputation for innovative curriculum design which often incorporates writing as a means of exploring personal issues. Her interest in trauma began when she was charged with developing a life skills program for women fraud offenders in the Canadian penal system. Over a twelve year period, the program increasingly focused on the commonality that all fraud offenders shared : severe trauma, much of it intergenerational. In searching for viable interventions, Jacqueline consulted extensively with Rosalba Stocco who was exploring Systemic Family Constellations. These consultations grew into collaborative writing projects about trauma, family history and the nature of love.