No Limits

Even when I thought I couldn’t carry on, I did. Even when I didn’t believe I could keep on walking on a leg that had been broken, I kept on stepping. When I thought I couldn’t carry heavy loads, I kept on hauling, through sheer willpower not physical strength. I had to, there was simply no other choice. It was do or die. That pain that was too great. That loss so unbearable I didn’t think I could get up the next day and breathe. Those tears that I thought would never stop coming. There were no limits.

It is not that I never felt pain. It was not that I didn’t love and care and need. It was not that I was heartless. Far from it, I have always lived my life emotionally skinned. I am one woman-shaped walking wound. It was not that the pain was bearable. It was not that the loss was a release, thought I inspect myself regularly for feelings that tend that way. I had no choice, because greater than pain, greater than suffering, greater than loss, greater than death itself, is Love. Love is not the Law, not above will nor under it. Love is the imperative. Love kept me going. Love and sheer bloody minded stubbornness. If events and men wanted to kill me, to destroy me with laws, they were going to have to work for it.

I am so tired recently, so very tired. I’ve developed nodules in my upper finger joints that look and feel arthritic, I hurt physically, I feel weaker and weaker. I don’t want to die. I want to live that life I have fought so hard for. I am so supremely tired. I get so scared, and the last two days I have barely been able to stop crying. Tears come up to the surface easily, and refuse stubbornly to leave. I look at photos and fall to the floor. I sit there desperate to go back in time, to try again. To do better. I find myself begging my sons forgiveness for how hard things are and have been. I find myself panicked. Part of this is due to the actions and words of people who should know better and be kinder. Part of it is the natural ebb and flow of grief.

There are no limits to love. There is no limit to the suffering a woman will stand for the love of her children, nor to the judgement of others who deem them lacking, failed or failing, lost or losing. There is no limits to the indignity. There are no limits to the fight a woman will find in her bones and soul to protect her babies. This is love born out of women’s very bodies, out of the pain of carrying a child and birthing it, out of nurturing and adoring. This is mothering. This love is limitless, boundless, a love of creation and protection.

This love can carry 9 gallons of water home while a nuclear power station melts down. This love can stay conscious despite being battered around the head, so she might, with her very last breath if that is the way it goes, protect her babies. This is love that is so fierce it can almost beat Death itself away from the door….until it can’t. Then this love lies useless upon the floor, screaming and weeping and cursing and crying out for mercy.

This love has no limits, needs no rest, and give no quarter. Love is the engine, the fuel and the fear. Love is all there is, even when there is nothing else left, and this love is mine.


  1. Time Traveler of Life

    You are the strongest person I have ever known. I know we have never met in person, but I feel like I know you. Not that you need any strength from me, but I am sending love, hugs, and strength to bear what you have to, to lift yourself up to where you belong.

  2. Ruth

    I have read and re-read this so many times and it still moves me to tears. You are a fabulous writer Paltry, a glorious sister, and a wonderful mother. xxx

Leave a Reply