We are never ready to set free someone who once made our lives better, or who once made us better We are never truly ready to say goodbye to someone who we thought we still had forever with. We are never ready to part ways with someone we are still in love with, despite how much pain this love has caused us. We are never prepared for death, as we are never prepared to say goodbye to someone for good, or to understand the permanence or finality of this goodbye. We are never fully ready to lose our best friend, the one who we thought loved us unconditionally and who we thought would love us forever. We are never really prepared for endings, or for the heartache or grief that follows.
I guess whenever love is involved, we are never really ready to say goodbye.
Because we aren’t ready to wake up in the morning and feel the pang in our chest when we remember that they are no longer in our life. We are never ready to walk the world without them, without their support or their love pushing forward. We are never ready to not be able to casually say their name in a sentence, like they can still be talked about in the present tense, when really, they are now in the past. We are never ready to face the truth that we can’t call them anymore when we need them, or that we can’t leave a rambling voicemail when we just need to be heard by someone. We are never ready to lose all the love they had for us, especially when we haven’t lost the love we have for them. We are never ready to lose their hug or their warm, comforting hand around ours, or the way they always could reassure us that everything would be okay.
We aren’t ready to be alone.
And as soon as they go, all we can think about is the huge hole they left behind, right in the middle of our hearts. All we can feel is the ache that won’t go away, no matter what we do or no matter how hard we try to comfort ourselves. All we can think about is all of the dreams that we had that are no longer going to happen, at least not with them by our side. All we can think about is how scared we are to take on the world alone, and how deeply sad we feel by their absence.
All we can think about is what we are missing.
But the truth is, we aren’t defined by our losses. We aren’t defined by who left us or who we lost. We aren’t defined by the reasons someone had for leaving us, or by the reasons we never heard. We aren’t defined by the grief we carry with us, long after our person leaves us. We aren’t defined by the numbness we feel, or the tears we cry, long after they are gone. We aren’t defined by the sadness or the heartbreak, and we can’t let our heartaches rule our lives forever. We aren’t defined by our losses.
We can carry our losses with us, we can hold space for the memories of the special relationship we once had. But we can’t let ourselves be defined by our grief. We can’t let ourselves be defined by our heartbreaks. We can miss them, but we can’t lose ourselves when we lose them. We can miss them, but we can’t let our lives be over once they are gone. Because we still have our lives to live. We still have mountains to move and tides to turn. We still have others to love. And we still have so much love to give.
We aren’t defined by our losses. But we are defined by how we choose to continue to live after they are gone. We are defined by how we let their loss impact us, how we let it shape us. What defines us is how we make the world a more beautiful place not in spite of, but because of our losses. What defines us is how we piece back together our broken parts, and turn them into something greater than what we had before.
We loved, and we lost. And our hearts are bigger for it. We’ve lost a piece of ourselves. We’ve lost a world. But we haven’t lost the whole world. And while the sadness and the heartache will consume us for a while, we still have our lives to live. We still have our hearts to share. And we still have such a capacity for love. And while our hearts ache, and while we are consumed by missing them, we can’t let this loss break us. We can’t let it stop us from loving. Because maybe, just maybe, one day we will see that they taught us just how much love we could give. They taught us how strong our hearts could be.
So while we can’t let our grief define us forever, we can use it to love bigger. And we can use it to love stronger.