Some people aren’t meant to stay. No matter how much they change your life, no matter how much you love them, some people are just temporary.
It took me a while to accept that sometimes even the most beautiful relationships end. Sometimes, we lose people we thought would be by our side forever. I’m learning to accept that their absence doesn’t have to ruin my memory of them. I’m learning to appreciate what I gained from knowing them rather than to focus on the void their departure created. I think of temporary people as helpers—angels, some would say. They come into your life when you both need each other. You give them a purpose, and in dark moments, they brighten your life.
It’s no coincidence we get attached to some more than others. Life keeps us close to those who touch our souls. I’m not religious, but that I believe in. I believe in fate. I believe that life puts people in our path so they’ll light up the way. I believe we have to trust the process. Looking back, there’s been no one I got attached to that didn’t positively change my life, at least a little.
There are people who come into your life to flip on the lights using a switch that was always there, hidden under a pile of dust, that no one had ventured to use before—the switch that frees you from the dark with the realization that you’re not the only one to believe in yourself.
There are also people who challenge everything you thought to be true about yourself and your identity, the ones who give you the courage to accept yourself for who you are, despite your upbringing. And then there are the people who teach you that you are more amazing than you ever thought you could be. They boost your self-confidence with their unconditional love. They all share something in common: They teach you that no matter how many times you stumble and fall, you are worth enough to keep on going.
I’ve met all of these people. They left, but their lessons remained. I don’t love them less now that they’re gone—I do miss them, though. The void that their absences leave is healed by the beauty of their lessons. They shaped me into me; they taught me to love myself for my forever people. There is beauty in the ephemeral, in these short-lived connections. Maybe if they hang on too long, the vividness dulls and their message gets lost in the noise. The key, then, is to let them go before the light between you dims, releasing them onward into the next person’s path to plant the same seeds of beauty and growth that so changed you. You have to let them free.