First, your heart will break. Your body will hurt. The tears will run down your cheeks at night. Your mind will run through the what-ifs over and over again, like a looped film strip that never ends. You’ll want to pause each moment in your head, wishing, every single time, that you could insert a new scene.
You will wish you could edit the captions, you’ll wish you could change the words that were exchanged into something more, something better. If only you had spoken up, if only you had said what you needed to say to make it last.
You’ll wish that you had told them to stay. You’ll wish you had known at the time that you wanted them to stay. You’ll wonder if this movie truly ended the right way, or if the scenes should or could have gone on longer. You’ll wonder if this really had to happen.
You’ll wish you didn’t have to say goodbye.
Your heart will ache, your bones will hurt. You’ll feel like you were punched in the stomach. And though you’ll try to mend the hurt with a cup of hot tea and a motrin, you won’t be able to heal the pain. Instead, you’ll have to sit with the pain. You’ll have to sit with the sorrow.
And then, a little while later, a new pain will come. This new pain is an empty kind of pain. You’ll feel hollow and lonely, and wish there was something for you to cling on to.
You’ll crave comfort, but you won’t have the energy to find it. You won’t have the desire to want to feel better. You won’t want to get out of bed and face the day. And so you’ll become numb. You’ll go through the actions and routines, but your mind will be elsewhere. You’ll tell your friends that you’re “okay” but you don’t really know how you are.
Then one day, when you have the strength to get dinner and drinks with your best friend, you’ll feel something, something little and gentle, something very subtle. You’ll feel like something is tugging at you. Something is pulling you out of your shell, something is softly waking you back up. Something is making you feel again.
And little by little, a gentle light will begin to replace the darkness. Hope will override some of the shadows. You’ll start to enjoy being with your friends. You might even laugh. You won’t be so afraid of spending time alone, because you won’t be so scared of your own thoughts. You’ll start to trust yourself again, and trust your heart again.
And then you will begin to understand. You’ll playback the memories in your mind, and you’ll actually start to see some of the flaws and glitches, the moments when things were not right. You’ll see the messiness. You’ll begin to understand that the heartbreak was already there, and you’ll understand why their could not have been an alternate ending. Though it hurts, you will begin to realize that this ending had to happen exactly how it did and when it did. This is how it had to be.
You will mourn the loss and the absence of someone you once cared for, and maybe you still care for, but you will finally understand that what happened was meant to happen. And little by little, you will begin to move on. You will know that you deserve more. You will know that if you try to rewind the story, you will only be hurt again, by the same story. You will finally know that something better awaits you.
And you will finally learn that everything you need to be able to heal is already inside of you. The courage, the compassion, the bravery and the strength, are all within you. You will learn that being alone does not mean being lonely.
And once you know this, you will begin to heal.
And then, in time, the color will return to your world, and the sparkle will return to your eyes.
And then, in time, you will heal.