Choose Love, Choose Life

“I believe that every single event in life that happens is an opportunity to choose love over fear.” ~Oprah Winfrey 

Facing fear came in the form of the death of my father in 1997. He was diagnosed HIV positive and at the time, the world saw this as a death sentence, and so it was.

His goal became to find a level of peace, a level of contentment about what was happening to his body, his mind, and in his soul in preparation for leaving this life. He enlisted my help to choose when and how to die.

I made the commitment to help him die with grace and dignity, in our home. That process took five years with many ups and downs. The final letting go happened while lying next to him in his own bed.

He drew his last breath and simply let go, peacefully. “We” were successful in creating a space for his passing to be perfect for him, exactly as he chose it to be.

That was the hardest thing that life had ever “asked” me to do. The aftermath of that single event had drastically changed my life. Initially, it was not for the better, as it created in me a need to protect myself against ever feeling the pain of letting go of someone I love that much.

It has been a double-edged sword. I found myself in tremendous fear—fear of having what I want and losing it. It has been a very long journey for me. I’ve struggled to let go of the belief that if I have someone in my life who I love so completely, they will “leave.” My commitment to not feel that pain ever again has been a huge hurdle for me.

It was this year, on my 49th birthday that I “met again” the woman I believe with my whole heart I am meant to share the rest of this journey with. I say met again because she showed up in my life as a woman I have “known” for approximately 20 years. She was completely and utterly unexpected!

I have let go of the protective armor around my heart with the help of a very talented life coach. I find myself trusting that should she “leave,” I have it in me to let go with grace. I trust myself to love completely, again. In return, I attracted into my life a woman that has completely opened her heart to me.

Because I took the risk of opening up, I will now get to live with her in Wimberley, Texas, where I’ve always wanted to live.

Even more miraculous, I can now work with a mental health organization there that supports one of my greatest missions in life: to cure mental illness, not just manage the symptoms. I feel it is part of my life’s purpose to share the Ho’oponopono practice of releasing limitations—and I may not have stumbled into this specific opportunity if I didn’t learn to open my heart.

I am giving up every last shred of “security” I have worked so very hard for, to face my fears. I will not die never having lived and experienced love because of my fears.

….and this is what I know:

You cannot love and fear at the same time. These two states of being cannot exist in the same space. You have to let go of one or the other.

What we fear always turns out to be a “boogieman” when faced. What we fear can also become a self-fulfilling prophecy should we choose not to face it.

Life abhors a vacuum—and when we choose to let go of fear, dreams rush in to fill that space.

Life never turns out the way we plan it. But it often turns out better when we simply let go of our fear of life.

Love is what we are, and when we refuse to love, we too are dying. Our loved ones would not want that for us. They’d want us to choose love. They’d want us to choose life.

Photo by Nicki Dobrin

About Renee Oglesbee

Renee Oglesbee holds a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from Sam Houston State University. Previously a licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, Renee has worked with mentally ill individuals in various settings, with a commitment to eradicating suffering. Renee’s new organization will be called “Hope for All.”

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  • Shame, my father had the same diagnosis and died, but I didn’t experience it in the same way at all. At least you seem to have found some sense of closure, and you clearly seem like the kind of person who has moved on. 

  • Very nice article. I’ve been struck lately with the fear of death and losing and I’m still learning to deal with it. This has been helpful. Thank you 🙂

  • Michelle

    Very powerful and wonderful piece.  Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • MAR

    Great article Renee, thanks for sharing. I’m on this path, and one of my purposes is embrace love, be love and give love. I’m having trouble identifying my fears, I’m not conscious about them but they live for sure in my unconsciousness, any advice on how can I bring them to my consciousness in order to work the out?

  • Beautiful post, and one I am taking to heart.  Thank you for sharing your very personal story here.  How wonderful that you received so many gifts once you decided to “open” again!  It sounds like you are living your dream!  Best wishes to you.

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  • Anonymous

    Thank you, I love this post. It resonates with me a lot.

  • Hope

    This is a beautiful post! I needed this right now. Thank you Renee! May God give you much more than what you already have! 🙂

  • Sara

    I wish my boyfriend…ex boyfriend…read this. He just broke up with me because we were starting to become serious and he’s so afraid that something will go wrong in 3 years that he’s ending it now instead of trying for any happiness. I’m hoping with all of my heart that he can try to overcome his fears. I love him so much =/

  • Alethiea

    I hope one day I can achieve such peace. Today, I am beginning to accept my childhood, rather than acting it out by moving from relationship to relationship. I recently quit my career to have a baby with a woman I thought I was in love with. I moved to a city I had never heard of and pretended everything was wonderful and everything was meant to be. Until they discover the me I was hiding, I had no clue who I was. I was stuck reliving my childhood until I got it right! Sounds like you have found peace or you are a good liar.

  • Thanks! I need to read something like that 🙂