There will always be people who have walked into our lives and left suddenly, leaving us with unanswered questions. It’ll feel like reading the last sentence of a book, except the last sentence is only half written. So badly we try to fit words in to make sense of the sentence, but in the end we know we won’t ever reach that period. That closure. We ponder on how strange it is that they were able to make our lives feel so enhanced, so real, then suddenly leave.
These people who make pitstops in our lives are stocking up for the rest of their journey. They’re gathering supplies and filling up their gas tank; they’re adding more knowledge to what they know about people and gaining wisdom from the experiences they share with you. You, the friendly hitchhiker who helped them push their car to the nearest gas station. You, on your own journey as well, but nevertheless willing to stride away from the map for chances to learn and love.
You two go in the same direction for a while until one of you decides a different destination.
No longer do you want the glossy lakes of Vermont, but instead the Hebrides Islands off the west coast of Scotland. The person leaving can be as simple as a friend you met through a summer class, who just got too busy to keep in touch. It can be as complicated as a husband or wife leaving, because one day he or she woke up and just didn’t feel the same way anymore. We cling to their memory and spirit even though they’re no longer around. No matter what the circumstances are, there are two reasons as to why it is so hard to letting go.
We think of who we thought they were, or who they could have been to us.
Moments spent together were beautiful and perhaps even moving. The feeling of dopamine rushing through us is ingrained in our memory. We want to feel it over and over again no matter the cost, like a lab rat having its pleasure center tested. We get caught up in these moments because we perceive this person as someone better than they actually are. We idealize to the point where it may seem as if our far reaching dreams are within grasp.
When this person inevitably leaves, you are left picturing how things could have been.
You get nostalgic and replay the late night drives, the mix tape song rotation, the quiet pillow talks. The rush of happiness you feel from recalling these moments is followed by an overwhelming sensation of loss. It could have been more. You two could have tasted each other’s souls. Sat in silence for hours in the same room still feeling the same way about each other. It could have been so lovely, is what you think. Everything is always lovelier in our head.
We are afraid that if we let go, if we stop fighting, we’ll miss out on future possibilities.
We’re afraid that if we stop fighting for this person, we’ll miss out on the high of our life. However, it is illogical to think another person wouldn’t be able to make us feel or experience the same kind of feeling. There will be others who will make us laugh again, trust again, feel alive again, and most importantly—forgive again. To forgive the ones who walked out of your life because now you’ve found someone who won’t. You forgive them, and you forgive yourself. You develop a deeper appreciation for those who stayed in your life; the ones who love you most and tell you every day.
Let go of the ghosts weighing you down. It’s time to stop being afraid—to let go of the fear of uncertainty. Blend out the leftover paint the shoes of passers-by left on your life canvas. Blend it out with the pastel love of the ones who did stay, and the ones who are on their way to meet you.