Love & Loss
Updated: Jan 30
I've recently moved house and with the sudden shift in place came a sudden rush of emotions. Most of these centred around loss, and letting go. Some of us are good at this - we simply exhale, blink, and turn a page in our lives. We walk on. There are times this is easier to do for me: when I've struggled in a place for a long time, I can walk away without pause for the sense that this was so.
There are other people and places I've had to leave behind where the wrench has felt physical. It's been a ripping away of joy and love, and it's hurt like coals of fire raining on my skin. That's how 'hard loss' feels to me - a burning, a scarring. It leaves traces and I find it's important to remember this.
If loss leaves traces, is the thing you're walking away from ever really gone? Is the scar of goodbye just that - a scar, or is it a piece of that love staying with you? I almost wrote 'forever' there and then I remembered that 'forever' isn't real at all.
The Forever Myth:
It's interesting that letting go of old loves - and old lovers - hurts so much, when we know, we know, that forever isn't a possibility. Ever. When you open up to someone, when you let them inside your heart, you're showing them who you are. It's an act of tremendous courage that loving hearts undertake every day. Equally, some loving hearts come to recognise that it's time to fold themselves away from each other. Time to say goodbye, and go, and not come to each other again. This is sad, and beautiful, and very real.
The leaving of love hurts so much, I think, because we know it's inevitable. From the moment we choose to gift another our heart, we know it can't last. We do it anyway. We love anyway - and this is the truly beautiful part of owning a human heart: you love someone anyway. Even when they don't love you back, even when they love another, even when they don't see you (sometimes because of this)...and even and perhaps most especially because your time with them will end. The grief will come, and the love will go.
There is no 'forever', but our hearts are stubborn. Love is determined. Our beautiful, wild, wonderful hearts refuse to accept that the lack of forever is a reason not to pursue love at all costs. Human beings have an outstanding capacity to hold to their deepest beliefs, come what may. We may not understand love, we may not understand loss, but I like to think we believe in their importance. We believe they matter - and that while a particular love or a certain loss doesn't persist forever, love and loss always do, and always will, live on in our determined, powerful hearts.
The magic of forever isn't for human hearts, but we believe in it anyway - because hearts need footholds. Places to stuff the hopes that rise with each new kiss, each touch, each new dawning connection. These places are the same ones we paint with the sadness and grief of losing each other. Those feelings hold heartspace, becoming a shrine to what's lost. Old wounds, scars, memories of a love that once upon a time we thought was forever, even while knowing forever never lasts...