Loss Met with Love
The phone rang and I saw it was him. My heart sank even before I answered. I had been feeling off since we had parted a few days prior and I knew what was about to happen. We had only known each other for two months, and yet it felt like longer, bonded much stronger than one might typically expect in that amount of time. We spent many a night talking into the early morning hours, sharing our psyches and thoughts of music and our biggest fear- which happened to be the same. We shared trauma, too, in the form of flashing lights and clanking doors. Yet, despite what felt oh so right to me, it just didn't feel fair to him. His heart was still healing from his relationship ending just before our paths crossed and he was not sure when this feeling of being somewhere else, this screen between us would come down.
Like so many times before, a conversation expected to be short continued for two hours, despite feeling like only minutes had passed. A connection undeniable, my heart ached with the thought that I'd lost it. The figurative door was left open, an acknowledgement of how terrible the situation felt, knowing we admired so much in each other, and a sliver of hope that time might make up for its mistake in the future. We agreed to see each other the next day so he could pick up camp chairs he had left; better sooner rather than later. Despite the option to just leave them outside, I insisted on seeing him, needing more closure than just a phone call could give.
And so, two days before my 31st birthday, I found myself with lips quivering and tears streaming down my cheeks as the pain in my chest grew ever sharper. Sorrow, embarrassment, anger, confusion, shame, disbelief, heartache. I stared at the ceiling taking it all in, feeling the waves of emotion come and go, mind vacillating between a race of thoughts and a numb, empty space. After a while I picked up the phone and, in true millennial fashion, called the person I knew would answer despite the late hour; my mom.
I relayed what had transpired, cried some more, let her comfort soothe my wounds, and prepared for seeing him the following morning, knowing it would be the ultimate bittersweet meeting. I slept little in anticipation.
I sat on the porch waiting for him to arrive. My roommates were some of the first to hear of our ending. With messages of, "he may come back around" ringing in my ears, I texted the news to a few of my other friends who I knew would be awake. I took up one's offer to call before he stopped by, which buoyed my heart.
Our meeting was both beautiful and melancholy, honoring of what had come between us and not knowing what the future holds. Under the recently rare sunshine we embraced and stared into each other’s eyes with an appreciation and knowing of something wonderful, whether it had come to an end or would continue at a later date. There was respect and kindness and care for each other beyond a doubt.
And while the phrase "parting is such sweet sorrow" deepened in meaning in those moments, the space that opened was filled with love. For in the absence of this man I was met with so much care and thoughtfulness from others in my life I was brought to tears of a very different sort. I immediately met with one of my coaches who held such beautiful space as I sat on a bolster, hunched with hands braced on the floor, crying from the pain of loss. My other coach and soul sister took time from her schedule to call and be there for me from states away. Friends reached out privately with intuitive knowing when I sent out a cancelation email for my birthday tiki bbq. Others insisted on calling and checking in with me even days after, sending words of encouragement and thoughtful descriptions of how they saw me and all I deserve. A gentle reminder and reflection that while feeling dim, I still am light.
The following day was my birthday-original plans had shifted and I was headed home to family and life-long kindred-spirits. A friend had dropped off cake and a card at my house; texts and messages of celebration and honoring of my heart were abundant. Through the weekend I was surrounded by love near and far; those checking in with how I was doing, long talks about the confusion and pain and trust in the experience.
And now, a few weeks later, I'm left with such gratitude. For this man that I met and the lessons in it all. For the outpouring of support from those around me, from friends old and new, and family by blood and by soul. I am humbled by each moment and act of comfort and concern. For in these genuine offerings of encouragement and love, virtually or in person, I found connection so deep and true that I knew I was not alone, that love is abundant in this wild and crazy world, and that everything really is alright.