It was a cold and dewy morning on the walk home, but the missing burns. A little more often than usual recently, it seems. I pondered how Lia (and a curious stranger on the web) asked me, “Do you still love him?” Without hesitance I replied, “Oh yes, I do. I don’t think you can completely unlove someone after losing them, unless it was a traumatic or abusive relationship.”
The stranger found this confession dumbfounding. “But isn’t that unfair to any person who will love you and that you will love in the future?”
The world is so obsessed with purity. “Purity is a colonial – chiefly Western – construct”, a friend opined. I agree. Why does it have to be this or that when life is a paradox, and us humans, a contradiction? Why do I need to hate someone in order to prove I love another? That connection, however short and unconventional, was really something – everything, even, in some moments. I do not wish to forget it and its lessons. It’s unfortunate to discount the sacredness and beauty of a real experience just because it did not end the way we envisioned it.” #EgoThings
You don’t move on after losing someone. You move forward with it. Light and dark, comfort and pain coming together. Loss becomes part of you and, by extension, part of the life you shape with others. All your composites making up your entirety, the you that others will take and love. The same way that when we love others, we take and love their grief, too; all the people they lost.
When we love we don’t cherry pick bits and pieces we like. We take the person wholly, knowing there is a space reserved for each person they lost, and it’s not ours to claim or cure. We can only nourish it and cup them on days that the space feels bigger. They can nourish ours and cup us, too, on our terrible days.
That’s what love is. It’s nurturing each other, holding space for safety and vulnerability, and building a life with them with all their composite parts. Being secure enough (and reciprocated and poured into, of course) to understand that even if a space is reserved for someone they lost, no one can take or fill your space in their life either. Because you are home, and they are yours.