There isn’t a single day that goes by that I am not bombarded with seeing happy little families in the grocery store, couples walking hand-in-hand down the sidewalk on a hot summer night, and giddy teenagers fresh out of high school with their twenties still ahead of them. It fills me with the kind of loneliness and longing that I cannot put into words. The sadness weighs heavily on my chest and I can’t free myself from it. Its grip is so incessant and lingering, and I haven’t known life without that feeling for so many years that I’m afraid it will always be this way. Will the proverbial ‘elephant’ in the form of every ‘almost’, every near miss, and every other memory remain on my chest for the rest of my life?
What would happen if my entire memory got erased and I no longer remembered what I have lost? What if I could forget the abandonment, the betrayal, and all the broken promises? What if I never had to know what it was like to physically feel your heart shatter inside your chest? I ask myself these questions, along with countless more, in hopes that I can make sense of everything I have endured. But it doesn’t make sense, and it doesn’t get any easier. I am still left with so many unanswered questions, sleepless nights with tear-soaked pillows, and open wounds that I am so reluctant to touch. I am afraid that I’ll never arrive at a place where I am truly healed. I am terrified that I will always be damaged goods and nothing more. And I find myself wondering what my life would be like if pivotal moments in my life had taken me in another direction. What if I would have walked away instead of moving closer? What if I would have never locked eyes with his? What if I would have discovered my voice sooner, instead of being more concerned about keeping the peace? Where would I be right now if those crucial moments in my story would have been written in the stars differently?
I am a dreamer, chronically empathetic, and loving to a fault. Because of these traits, my thoughts tend to start wandering through an alternate life that finds my fingers knotted together with his, experiencing joy in the simplest of tasks, like grocery shopping or drinking oat milk lattes on the front porch. If there is one thing I know for sure in this life, it is this: be so damn thankful for every moment you get with the one you love. Never, ever take the love that the two of you have for granted, because it’s a rare and fragile and fleeting thing, and it can be taken from you in an instant. So, those forehead kisses and two-stepping in the kitchen to an Eric Church song and laughing at a dad joke he makes that isn’t even funny? Those memories will end up being the most thrilling and beautiful moments. Please, live for those moments. Remember those moments when life hits harder than you ever imagined, when the winds of change blow right through the little paradise you’ve built together. Those are the moments that you will find yourself basking in years from now, and looking back on with the biggest smile. You will realize, as you get older, that the little moments aren’t little – they are everything.
They are everything.