Before the last few months, I had never experienced tragic loss or true heartache. In many ways I felt lucky. In other ways I knew a big reason for that was because I hadn’t ever opened myself to true love. I had witnessed that kind of loss from afar, people who had lost love. Feeling a strong sense of empathy for them, I couldn’t understand how they could go on. Wouldn’t you just crumble and fold under those kind of feelings?
For almost the first 20 years of my dating life, I treated love like a game of hot potato. If someone threw some my way, I lobbed it back at them as quickly as possible terrified that hanging on to it would hurt too badly.
I have cried more tears in the last month than in the entirety of my 40+ plus years. I cry at stoplights, in the bathroom at work, in the shower. But I have also come to see that you can sit with terrible sadness and still be witness to joy. Life still marches on. My own joy feels a bit clouded right now, like I’m looking through wax paper. But I know it is only temporary.
And I am so grateful to have loved even though I lost it. For so long, I thought I’d never get a chance to experience what really taking that big risk of opening my heart to someone would feel like. And it felt amazing.
And so I try to look for love in the every day and the mundane. The other weekend, while sitting on the couch, my 3-year old niece wrapped her tiny arm around me and I remembered love. Last week, while I lay in bed crying, my dog snuggled right up into the crook of my leg and I remembered love. Today, I saw this couple in their 80’s walking hand in hand down a tree-lined street filled with golden and red leaves and I remembered love.
I suppose on my journey to wellness, I am destined to make many stops. Some will happy and filled with joy and some will be sad and painful. But there is so much life to be lived and experienced along the way. And I am grateful for every moment.