I will speak to a time when suffering was a part of a shared experience and through that sharing held something of the sacred for me. In the early 90’s I was one of two caretakers for my friend who was dying of AIDS, along with his partner. We lived together and were each other’s family when our own would not have us. I loved these two men dearly and deeply, and they loved me as well. It was the first time in my life I’d been loved by another. And, we suffered together the daily difficulties of a prolonged dying process, of the indignities of both the one losing life and the others struggling to make what was left worth living. This intensity of the suffering of love and the joy of love bled together until there were times I couldn’t tell the difference between the two and the suffering was as dear to me as the joy, simply because we were all together. We shared so deeply of ourselves and created a bond that I experienced as spiritual. It was beautiful and horrible at the same time. The day Brian died, I was 8 months pregnant and he placed his hand on my belly as he said his last goodbyes. He whispered something to my daughter I couldn’t hear but I believe her soul did. She was born on the one month anniversary of his death. I saw both faces of love during that time, its cruelty and its redemption and both were worth it to me. His partner and I still miss him, but he’s there with us when we talk to each other, when we share our continuing love for each other and him. I may never believe in anything else, but between the three of us the god of love incarnated. It took its sacrifice, but it also blessed us in equal measure.