Love on the Brain

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

I’m watching the telecast of the Academy Awards as I stew over the fact that I have no topic in mind for this week’s post. Despite my well-known love for movies and TV shows, I’m burnt out on awards ceremonies. And yet I can’t help myself from being pulled in every year to the beauty and the glam and puzzling, ever puzzling, at what very unglamorous moments might lurk beneath that shine. Ellen Degeneres just preened about crashing Twitter with the billion retweets of the selfie she took with, among others, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie. She also had a pizza delivery guy passing out slices to hungry A-listers. Meanwhile, Russia is invading the Ukraine, in case perspective felt lacking.

At the moment, I don’t have a lot of sexy on the brain despite the gorgeous people on my screen. There’s been family drama this week surrounding my grandfather who, at 96, is still my youngest living grandparent. My nana, my father’s mother, turned 101 this past January, which basically means good or bad, I’m gonna be around a helluva long time.

Despite his comparative youth, my grandfather had a health crisis last week and that meant surgery and hospitals and the many unpleasant, frightening, practical stuff that comes with life and aging. So the sexy is far from mind right now. But I do have love on the brain.

When my grandmother died six years ago, I had a rare front row seat to the demonstrative love my staid grandfather poured on her in the months leading up to her death. Not hearts and flowers or poetry or dramatic gestures. But the enduring, solid reality of committed love. He never left her side. At one point during a breathing crisis when I was certain I was watching her take her last breaths, he held her hands, stared into her eyes, and I swear he breathed for her until the crisis passed. Eight months after her death, his voice broke with sobs when I called to tell him my mother was near death from a bacteria infection. He sat on the other side of her ICU room from me and together we silently stood guard over my mother throughout that first night from the time my aunt and uncle arrived with him from Philadelphia around 11 until my sister came from Arizona the next morning. Every time I looked up he was there, watching her. Watching me. It was days later when I found out he’d tripped and fallen on his small patio earlier that day, which was how he’d come by the facial bruises and bloody nose he’d dismissed to me as “nothing”. He was 90 years old that year.

Here at Lady Smut, we talk a lot about heroes and heroines. We admire cut bodies and heroic gestures too broad and extreme to be understandable in the common world. We elevate real-life heroes too, those men and women who go to war or police our streets or run into fiery buildings instead of out of them, for example. We claim and celebrate our sexuality and the many joys to be found with it. Many of my fellow contributors write erotic romances novels; I write my own steamy level of romantic suspense. We dig the sexy hard. But our stories are not about the sexnot only about the sex, I should saybecause that would be boring. We write about love, perhaps in its most dramatic and heighten sense, but love nonetheless and often in many forms. Because love isn’t only romance and sex; it isn’t so limited. It is endlessly complex and varied and incomprehensible. Love is all this and more.

Love is the best story.

Follow Lady Smut. We’ve got a lotta love to give ya.

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  • Madeline Iva
    March 3, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Grandparents rule! And so does committed love. It’s not always about the pretty—thanks so much for inspiring words. xo

    • Kiersten Hallie Krum
      March 3, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      My Dad-dad and I share the smart-ass gene, which usually means we’re having a completely different conversation than everyone else in the room. Our’s is much funnier, natch.

  • Barbara Mikula
    March 3, 2014 at 9:12 am

    You are right – love is the best story, whether it’s new and shiny or burnished to a warm glow from years and years together like your grandparents.

    What we in the Erotic Romance field should know, but some don’t always, is it’s about the story, the path that love takes. Sometimes authors get so wrapped up in the sex that they forget the story, and that is boring. You need to see the relationship of the H/h and how it ebbs and flows from ecstatically happy to low down and miserable, and back to happy again but having learned some of the lessons of life.

    A story must have conflict as a background for the mind-blowing sex. As I always say, if you don’t have a story, you don’t have a book, no matter how much sex there is. – Skye Michaels

    • Kiersten Hallie Krum
      March 3, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      Thanks Skye. The best stories are always journey from one conflict to the next, no matter how sexy that path might be.

  • Elizabeth Shore
    March 3, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Kiersten, allegedly with nothing to say this week you still spoke volumes. What a beautiful post, and so very true.

    • Kiersten Hallie Krum
      March 3, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      Thanks Elizabeth. Every single week, I’m convinced I’ve blown it again. Happy to be wrong. 😉

  • Madeline Iva
    March 3, 2014 at 10:09 am

    It was a beautiful post. I can twist myself up in knots about death. The only thing that calms me down is the wish that I live as long as your grandparents and that by the time I’m that age, I will have done so much, seen so much, and loved so much that I’ll feel like I’m ready to go. It’s so achingly hard to say goodbye to loved ones though…That’s got to be the hardest thing about death–knowing you’ll leave behind people who will miss you so badly.

    • Kiersten Hallie Krum
      March 3, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      Death pisses me off. I can’t control or affect it, so naturally, I get pissed at it. That act of finality, knowing it is the very last goodbye this side of eternity, yeah. Twists me up too.

  • Author Charmaine Gordon
    March 3, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Thanks for sharing family stories of love and the healing it brings so often. All else is trivial by comparison. Love from Charmaine Gordon

  • LizEverly
    March 3, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Love, love, love this post.

  • Monica M Barnett
    March 3, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    We definitely cannot forget the Love Story. And I loved reading your post KHC! When you write from your heart, you never ‘blow it’. I guess you do have those longevity genes. I am sorry for your losses, especially since ‘death pisses you off’. Death engenders different emotions in different people. For me, death is another transition in this journey we call life. After all I’ve been through, with all that I continue to experience, I do not feel the same fear as I did when I was younger nor the sadness. At times, I miss my loved ones’ presence, but I feel very comforted by my beliefs. I know that I will see them again in the future.
    In the meantime, I continue to learn, experience spiritual growth as I carry on during the difficult periods and see joy in even the smallest of things.
    Thank you Kiersten for sharing a part of you.


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