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Loving You and Leaving You was a Thing That Happened to Me, Too

Photo by Evan Kirby on Unsplash

I never thought that I could love someone so much and still leave him behind. I did not know, until I knew, that this was a thing that could happen. I thought that love, once found, would last forever- especially when the love we felt in return was as strong as our own. No one ever told me that you can love someone and still have to leave. But now I know that we can love someone with our whole heart for our whole lives and still not be able to keep them. And for those struggling with this knowledge and feeling their worlds crumbling around them, I offer up this letter to the lover that I left.

Dear One,

Loving you and leaving you was a thing that happened to me, too. Today, I read your words of misery and felt them like they were my own. I hear you calling for me to come back, to let you come home, not to give up, and every single word cuts me deeply because I want you to come back, to come home, and I don’t want to give up. And I know that those things can never be. My love for you is unending. It never paused, not even when I was saying the words that severed our connection. It didn’t quit when you packed your bags and left the key. It didn’t skip a beat when you were steeped in anger and unable to look at me without hurling angry words in my direction. Oh, my love, the love didn’t stop then.

Loving you and leaving you was a thing that happened to me, too. When you took all of “our” shirts and left, when your coat wasn’t hanging up softly beside mine, when you no longer occupied your seat next to me. When all of those things happened, I broke into a million pieces, tears falling faster than I could catch them, my children sitting wide-eyed as they rapidly flooded the room. I lay down in a too-big bed each night freezing, my eyes watching our love story play out on the ceiling above me. In the morning, I woke up and cried before my eyes opened because you weren’t there beside me.

Loving you and leaving you was a thing that happened to me, too. When I drink too much or don’t sleep enough, I can’t stop myself from reaching out just to make sure that you were warm enough today. That you ate a good lunch. That you got enough sleep. I worry, and my love doesn’t stop because you are too angry to answer or because I can’t ask you to return to something that’s broken beyond repair. Even when you try to wound me by parading other lovers’ names before my eyes, even then I cannot stop the love that fills me from spilling over and running mascara I should never have put on to begin with.

Loving you and leaving you was a thing that happened to me, too. When I began to let go and move on, even then I could not stop the love. I walk in a world littered with memories of us, and sometimes I forget that us is a thing that’s over. So don’t tell me that I don’t love you. Don’t tell me that I broke a thing I would give anything to see whole. Don’t remind me again of how empty I left your life when every day your absence sits with me as present as your presence ever was. Because loving you and leaving you? That was a thing that happened to me, too.

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