And at once, almost out of the blue and without any real closure, I knew it was over.
It was so sudden, the feeling in my chest as I listened to him speak only a few feet away, that at first I had to stop for a moment and make sure I fully understood the feeling. It was over. My heart just let go. Did he feel that too? Did he know that it was over?
It had been so many months of holding on to something that wasn’t happening-something that would never happen-that the sudden combination of relief and loss that washed over me was enormous and almost crushing. There was suddenly understanding and recognition of the death of something that I’d wanted so much for so long-too much for too long. And then, following the realization, there was pain-not the type of pain you experience with an injury, but that deep ache that builds in your chest when your heart breaks. However, alongside the startling awareness and the the hurt, there was calm. It was like an ocean of emotion welled up and swallowed me whole, but just like when you stand yards from the shore and let the waves crash down upon you, it was peaceful there inside that roaring sea.
The talking continued only a few feet from where I was sitting, but the sound dulled in my ears. My thoughts rose up loudly inside my head and engulfed the external sound until all I could do was acknowledge what was happening to me. Lost in speculation, I was pushed into studying this new sense of cognizance for the situation to make sure I fully understood what I was feeling. It was loss and freedom, silent encompassing relief with a touch of sorrow lurking just behind it, and it was cessation. It was an expiration of sorts. The timeline my heart had set somewhere within the depths of it, an agenda that I wasn’t consciously aware of, had just sounded it’s alarm and it was ready to release me from this never ending waiting.
It’s not that the feelings I’d had, that love I’d carried within me for so many months, had ended. These were still there folded within themselves in some small part of my heart that might always want him a little bit. It was just that they didn’t matter anymore. It didn’t matter how much I’d loved, or how much I’d wanted, because it was over. All that mattered was that it was time to be free of it. Time to mourn what was lost for one final time so that the healing could begin, and after that healing, the future. A future that no longer included this relationship I’d hoped for.
This my friends, is a closure of sorts.
When there’s no actual closure to be had-when you can’t hear the words “it’s over” spoken aloud or written in text-I think something in your mind/heart/body steps in and lends a helping hand in some sort of fight or flight emotional self-preservation instinct. It’s harder this way, and it definitely takes longer to come about, but it eventually it arrives. I think you just have to wait for it, and be ready to give up the fight and accept it when it appears. You have to be ready to let go of all of the things that had happened in the past, all of the promises that were made but never fulfilled, and most of all, you have to surrender the fable you’d made up in your mind about what an existence with them by your side would have been like.
He would have never said it out loud to me. He’d have never told me he didn’t love me, or that he didn’t want to be with me again-because those would have been lies. He did love me, in some unspoken or unacknowledged way, and he did want to be with me-but you don’t always get what you want and you can’t keep everything you love. That’s a lesson it has taken me many years and many rough partings to understand. It’s a lesson he probably isn’t ready for yet. If I let him, he’d keep promising. He’d promise that soon everything would be okay, that eventually our timelines would come together and we’d have a real chance, and that if he could he’d drop everything and be with me right then. He’d mean them, each and every word, even though he couldn’t keep them.
I’d spent a lot of time l secretly lamenting our lack of closure. There was no way I could bring up our ending with him… I’d tried and failed multiple times before because neither of us really wanted to lose the other. Oh, he’d offer to let me go, and he’d be all valiant and selfless for a moment in that willingness to give up what he wanted-and I’d get sucked back in again. Then, when I was firmly rooted back in waiting to give it another try, he’d start promising again-and in my desire for this coveted state to be a reality I’d ignore all the times the promises had failed before and hope beyond what I knew to be true. Our cycle is one I know well at this point.
Not once was this done in effort to hurt me. I know without a doubt that he didn’t want to hurt me, he just… Wanted me. He wanted me as badly as I wanted him, but the difference between us remained that I was able to be there-to be in it-whatever it was, and he wasn’t. It was outside his capability at this moment in time, and he wasn’t ready to be in a position where it could happen, no matter how badly he wished to be. I can’t fault him for that, for wanting and loving me, just as I can’t fault myself for hanging on so long to someone who couldn’t be what I needed them to be. We do whatever we can for a just another little taste of what could be, of what we feel should be, and we remain so completely and utterly fools for that love that we crave so very badly.
So, in the face of not being able to take or even make real solid closure, all I could do was let go. The only thing I could do was stop asking, stop fighting, stop initiating, and see if it slipped away from my grasp-and it did. The tide came in and swept it all away faster than I expected, and as our conversations grew more forced, and fewer and farther in between, and the rapport we’d shared for so long dwindled-all I could do was accept it.
It would be false of me to say that even in the midst of this acceptance some small part of me didn’t still hope that he’d suddenly be ready to love me. In some fantasy world, one concocted and formed with revisionist history, he would have. He’d have felt that same shift that I felt as I sat there listening to him from across the room, and in fear of losing me forever, he’d have stepped up. But that was never his style, and life isn’t like the stories we’re told. There’s no grand gesture, no boy with a boom box outside your window, and there isn’t always a grand ending where it all comes together like we knew it would all along.
That’s just it… Things don’t always come together, nor do they always fall apart in one grand eruption that leaves one party the victor and the other licking their wounds. Sometimes… Well, sometimes it fades away quietly a state of being-or not being-where both parties feel a profound loss, and no one comes out of it the way they were before… Or with anything they’d wanted and wished for. At times, the end is just a soft sorrow that eventually fades into numb acceptance, and after the acceptance comes the peace… If we let it.
So this is me choosing to open myself up to that end that is arriving on the horizon. I am choosing to finally welcome the defeat I’ve been holding at bay for so long, yet I feel anything but defeated. This tale-the story of he and me and everything we wanted us to be-may be coming to a victor-less close, but with this cheerless finish so ends the exhausting battle that was trying to make something what it never was.
Yes, I’m sad, and I may be sad for a while. I’ll miss him, or maybe I’ll miss the idea of him, but for once I am contented in the knowledge that it is time. We have to stop this ride and get off for the sake of our sanity. Grief and heartbreak may be a high price to pay, but it is not a price that we can’t recover from. It hurts. But it’s okay. Everything will be okay, if not better in this.
Note: I really am okay. This was a very cathartic post to write, and it felt so good to string these words together. Thank you all for the support!
Let go of my hand so I can feel again
Nothing’s going to hurt as much as that final touch
No we can’t be friends
‘Cause I don’t think I could take seeing you and knowing where we’ve been
I hope you understand
Nothing more to say, nothing left to break
I keep reaching out for you hoping you might stay
Nothing more to give, nothing left to take
I keep reaching out for you, reaching out for you
As you turn away
One step my heart is breaking
One more my hands are shaking
The door is closing and I just can’t change it