Having literally just come from a funeral, where I saw my father, a man I have always known as the strongest, toughest guy in the world break down next to his 9 brothers and 2 sisters, all of the weeping over the loss of their father, I have learned that everybody hurts deeply. The pain that I saw in their faces, and the anguish that I saw in my grandma’s face as she looked down at my grandpa for one last time, I can only assume contemplating how she could possibly go on living without the man who had been by her side for 61 years. Every single day, for 61 years, being with somebody. The number of memories both good and bad, beautiful and ugly, are unimaginably huge. The only thing that is bigger than that is the hole that is left when they are gone.Also having gone through a very difficult break up recently as well, and the end of a relationship that I thought was going to last for the rest of my life, the concept of loss and grief has been very present on my mind. When something is taken away from you, then you can at least be consoled by the fact that they did not leave willingly. That is not to diminish the loss, which is still much, much greater than a break up. But it is to draw a distinction between the two types. When someone dumps you, it sucks. It sucks really bad. Feeling worthless and unwanted and seeing the other person move on and be completely fine is like having your heart ripped out of your chest over and over again.
And then the anger sets in. If they aren’t going to get back together with me, then I’m going to make their lives shit. I’m going to inflict as much suffering on them as I am able too. And this was my reaction after my pleadings failed. And then my grandpa died. And I saw my grandma, who had never really shown much love or affection outwardly in the time that I have known her, was in visible pain every single moment that I saw her. She was in that same pain while my grandpa was in the hospital, but maybe it was made a little better then because there was still hope that he might get better. He wasn’t gone yet. He was still with us. And then when he wasn’t, there is nothing but pain. Unending waves of cascading torture and agony raining down on your heart.
Thinking about both of these scenarios drove me to think about both of them in ways that I wouldn’t have if I had faced them on their own. No matter what happened to end the relationship that I was in, no matter how much I feel let down and betrayed by the other person, I still have the memory of those two years with me. I don’t have to deny that they happened to prove anything to anybody. We were together for two years, and it was the best two years of my life. My grandma and grandpa were together for 6 decades, they had 12 children together, and countless grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Is my grandpa’s death going to change any of that? No, no way. If he could have seen his entire family come together and laugh and talk together with each other, some of us not having seen the others for years, he would have been filled with the intense joy that was so distinctive of his personality. He was a man who loved, and loved ferociously.
No one could escape his love, and nobody wanted too. And nobody will ever have too. Because he is gone from us now does not change the memories that we have of the time that he was with us. That is not going to make the loss any easier to bear but it should make it less pervasive. He will never be gone from any of our lives. He has affected them so much, and will continue to for the rest of all of our lives.
Similarly, the relationship that I have lost will never not have happened, no matter what we say to each other, say about each other, or make the other person feel like. We were still together and we were both happy as could be for two years. We shared an amazing apartment, had two wonderful cats. My favorite place in the world was laying on that bed at night next to her, talking about things before we went to sleep. And that is a memory that I think of often. And I’m not going to forget about it to try and punish her for leaving me. It’s not worth it. Being angry about it is not worth it. It happened and it was great, and now it’s time for something new.
There was a Camelot.