As a young man in my mid twenties, I fell in love with a beautiful, special young woman. After a long time of seeing each other constantly, it felt as though we were connected as two bodies with only one soul. Together, we explored a universe others only dreamed of and a love so deep and so pure, that if I could have stayed that happy the rest of my life, I certainly would have asked her to marry me.

We danced and we sang and we played, even at a time when I faced serious business challenges. Then, without warning, an awkward space began slowly growing between us. We still loved each other desperately, but something was just not right. Neither of us did anything wrong, our love just ran out of time.

A few days later (which seemed like an eternity) I tried to call her but she would not answer. After several futile attempts, I began to worry about her safety. Then, she finally answered the phone (and later I wished she had not). She explained that she loved me very much but could no longer see me. Neither of us had ever loved so hard for so long, or hurt so deep. Then, without saying another word, she hung up the phone. It was over! I never did get a chance to express how I felt.

I had so much love and emotion bursting inside, I needed to do something to let it out. So I decided to sit down and write her a poem about how I felt. In the poem “Right There,” I shared the thoughts and feelings I had bottled up inside. Though I began writing for her, in the end I knew I was writing for myself. For the next thirty years, I continued to write. I have tried to capture the loves and lessons of my journey through life and death.

I am so blessed to have found a best friend and soul mate in my wife Ann. So many of these poems have been inspired by the love, respect and admiration that I have for her. Each of the poems in this book reflects a special time in my life when I was able to express in words what my heart was feeling.

The poem, “Eternal Happiness” is my philosophy in life. “A Boy Becomes a Man” was written when my best friend’s father passed away. “Proposal of Love” is how I proposed to my wife. “My New Born Son” was written when my first child was born. This book of poetry is filled with different lessons for different people.

The chapter Looking for Love details my belief that true love is out there even though I couldn’t touch it yet. It is almost like I was standing in a silent room with the radio turned off. All I had to do was find the right switch and the sound appeared. Though I couldn’t hear it before, the room was always filled with radio waves (and love).

Found Love expresses all the love, joy, and hope two hearts can feel when we love the other person more than we love ourselves. Each time we feel this powerful emotion, we hope and pray that it will last forever. Even though only one love can possibly last forever, we never prepare ourselves for the day it disappears. Lost Love describes the emptiness and loneliness that consumes us after love runs out of time. It seems like time stands still while our heart is breaking on the long walk back to ourselves that we never even dreamed about.

The chapter on Romantic Love is written as I look back with fondness on the memories of the young loves in my life that were fresh with infatuation and innocence. Throughout my life I have been loved and supported beyond belief by my family and friends. Family Love poems are expressions of appreciation for the loved ones who have continued to love me for who I really am.

Finally, poems in Love in Death are inspirations from the lives of people who have touched me deep within my own soul. Though saddened, empty and without explanation of why people died (and often too soon), each separate life already healed their own souls, taught us lessons in life, and gave meaning and feeling to those lives they touched.

Most of us spend our entire lives searching for love in hope of finding a happiness that will last forever. One of the most important lessons I have learned is that only after we accept that the path to happiness is unveiled through inner peace can we become blessed with a love that brings us eternal happiness. Inner peace is discovered on the journey into our own souls. Acceptance of who we really are and a happiness with one’s own true self frees us from worrying about judgment from other people and even ourselves. When we truly love ourselves and become our own best friend (not an easy bond to make), we begin attracting love and energy that radiates an inner peace that others yearn to be around.

I hope the love, faith and emotions I share through my poems will give you direction, hope, and strength to search your own soul for the inner peace and eternal happiness you so richly deserve.

Richard Jaffe
La Jolla, California
Fall 2007