Our ‘forever people’ are, by definition, the ones we’re meant to never say goodbye to.
They’re our ride-or-dies. Our partners in crime. Our come-hell-or-high water. Our lobsters.
They’re the people who feel like home, in a way that even we do not always understand. They take care of us at our worst. They applaud us at our best. They’re the people we picture by our sides in ten, twenty, fifty years, through every challenge and obstacle.
They’re our forever people. The whole point is that they’re not supposed to go anywhere.
But here’s the thing about life: It works in funny and sometimes unfortunate ways.
The people who could have been there forever are sometimes the very ones we have to let go – often for reasons that are entirely outside of our control.
And so what do we do, when we find ourselves confronted with this uncomfortable reality?
How do you say goodbye to the person you thought you’d have at your side for the rest of your life?
How do you let forever go?
Maybe this is how:
You start by not downplaying their significance.
You start by accepting that they mattered, in a way nobody before them ever did, and it’s possible that nobody after them ever will.
You start by accepting that you met your forever person when the timing was wrong or the stars weren’t aligned or in a Universe where the two of you just couldn’t make it to the finish line. You start by letting it sink in that maybe they were ‘The One,’ whether that’s a term that you believe in or not.
Because in some capacity, they were. They were the one person your heart felt capable of loving forever. And that means something.
It’s always going to.
But love isn’t always enough to keep two people together. So when you have to say goodbye to your forever person, be thankful.
Be thankful that you met them. Be thankful that you got the chance to know them. Be thankful that you got to feel the way you felt about them in your lifetime. Because some people never do.
Some people go their whole lives never knowing what it feels like to be with their forever person.
They may fall in love several times. They may even get married. They may live out their ‘forever’ alongside someone whom they figure is the best reasonable fit for them. But they may never have the true connection, the true devotion, the true intimacy that comes from meeting that one person, who you just know is the one you’re supposed to stay with.
Some people never meet their forever people at all. But you met yours.
And if that’s not something to be grateful for, I don’t know what is.
And so when you have to let go of your forever person, do so calmly. Do so with gratitude. Do so with the understanding that we don’t get to keep all the gifts that we are given in life. Some things we’re just lent. And sometimes we have to let that be enough.
Because if you can be a big enough person to appreciate what you have while you have it, and to let it go with gratitude when it’s time to do so, you gain the respect of the one person who you’re never going to have to let go of: yourself.
Because the truth is, you only ever get one guaranteed forever person in life: And that person is you.
You’re the one who’s going to be there through every twist and turn, every bump in the road, every beautiful beginning and painful ending. And when you’re facing the latter, it’s your forever person who’s going to get you through it. It’s you who’s going to figure out how to keep yourself moving forward when everything seems to be crumbling apart.
And so when you have to let the person you wanted to spend forever with go, don’t let the person you are going to spend forever with fall to pieces. Care for that person. Nourish that person. Be there for that person.
And above all else, be proud of that person.
Be proud that you didn’t hold back on the thing that matters most. Be proud that you gave it all you had, when you could have only gone in halfway. Be proud that you risked something as huge and important as your heart, even if it didn’t end up lasting forever.
Be proud that you now know yourself to be someone who is capable of loving someone else forever.
Because you, of all people, know how incredibly and intoxicatingly rare people like that happen to be.