The only sure thing about life is that it is in constant motion; days pass, seasons change, people leave. Sometimes people are taken from us, and sometimes they choose to walk away. People can leave in the worst way possible: without warning, without explanation, without a word, and then, there are times when people leave for the better (these are not mutually exclusive).
The truth is, there are some people we are better off without. There are people who, for one reason or another, are just toxic to our lives. There are a million platitudes people will spew at you to try to reinforce what you already know; “You’re better off,” “He didn’t deserve you,” “I bet he regrets how he treated you.” But the truth is, it doesn’t matter if those things are true. Because ultimately, when someone leaves, especially when they leave for the better, you’re not stuck on what that person is feeling, you’re stuck on what you’re feeling: missing someone who doesn’t deserve to be missed.
There are a million reasons why we love people: the way they look when they first wake up, the comfort and safety they give, because they’ve raised us. The reasons we miss someone seem to typically connect with the reasons why we love them: the good things they made us feel, the memories we don’t want to let go of. When someone leaves us who has mistreated us or hurt us physically, emotionally, or psychologically, there is a disconnect that happens between brain and heart, and oftentimes, it can be painfully confusing.
How is it possible to miss someone when most the memories of them are flooded with pain? The brain takes over and asks, “Am I so screwed up that I actually long to be back in that cycle of destruction?” The heart, as far as I’ve found, doesn’t have one simple answer. Maybe we miss people we “shouldn’t” miss because we want to know if maybe someday they would’ve been better, loved us like we loved them, showed they care the way we wanted them to. Maybe we are so connected to the few good memories, they become a lifeboat even in the vast sea of disappointment.
It’s important to remember that missing someone who hurt you does not make you a masochist, and it does not make you damaged. In fact, it only speaks even louder the fact that your love was too big for them to hold.
So miss people. Miss them even though they don’t deserve to be missed. Miss them because, good for you or not, they were a very real part of your life.
Miss them. Give their memory more than they ever gave you in the flesh.