Sometime loss creeps up on you and steals your breath away. I used to believe in those books and movies with characters who said, “You’ll get over it. It won’t always hurt.” But it does. It just doesn’t hurt as much, nor as often, but it still hurts.
In the beginning, it always hurts. You can’t breathe, it hurts so much. Maybe you even consider ending your own life just to escape the pain.
Have you ever noticed, in books and movies, the person dying is always at peace? They’re always so calm and accepting and, “It’s okay.” No, it’s not. Because when the curtain drops, they’re gone and their loved ones are left to build a life around a gaping hole. They die, but we’re left here to reconstruct our existence. There’s nothing okay or fair about that.
But somewhere along the way, you get used to that hole. Pain and loss fill the void nicely, making it less empty, but it will never be whole. The face that you try to fill it with will never be just right: the eyes will be the wrong shade of blue, the smile won’t have dimples, their hair won’t be that shade of dirty blonde. But you’ll get used to the hole and you’ll build a life.
Somewhere along the way, you’ll be happy. For an hour. For a day. For a week. For a month. For a year. People will say you’ve moved on. That you’ve healed. But then a line in a song, an old dirt road, or a simple ring tucked away in your jewelry box will bring it all back. You won’t be able to breathe. Tears might even gather at the corners of your eyes. For a moment, you will be breathless and that pain will return to you, as real as the day it first arrived, but somehow less sharp. You’ve learned to live with pain and loss, so their edges aren’t as cutting. You’ve shared a bed with them long enough, you can sleep through their snoring.
And that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be like the movies where you get over it. You don’t have to play at being whole; it’s okay to spend your life mourning the loss of someone who was as vital to you as a limb, or maybe even a heart. But if you can, it’s also okay to let go.
Just know, it doesn’t make you weak if you choose to hold on.