I remember being a little girl and trying to sleep the night before Christmas. Lying in bed, eyes wide open, my whole body trembling with anticipation for Christmas morning and what treasures I might find. Sleep was nearly impossible.

Here it is, 2:30 in morning on December 25th, and sleep is impossible. But not out of anticipation, but from dread. Because every time I awake there is confusion, a hazy transition between dream and reality and then the moment when I come to my senses and realize my life is no longer what it was.

That moment crushes me.

I learned long ago not to lose myself into a relationship. A lesson learned the hard way, and one I was determined never to repeat. And I am proud to say that I haven’t. I am my own person with my own values, friends, opinions and interests that didn’t get lost when I partnered up. So this loss is different than before, when I had to rediscover myself and figure out who I am. I know who I am and that hasn’t changed.

But when you decide to be with somebody, when you share with them the core of your being, you grow beyond yourself. Life becomes bigger. That person becomes the most important and significant being in your life. And to lose that, the person and the partnership is devastating. I didn’t lose me, I lost the person I chose to be with. The person that I had made a life with over the years.

What’s the best way to mourn a relationship?

One minute I am so desperately sad for the loss of us. No more shared looks, no more knowing that person as well as you know yourself, no more future plans. What do you do with that shared history? That time spent together? Of being happy? Do you cherish it? Lock it away and don’t revisit it until your heart is healed and it is no more than a ghost?

Or do you crush it? Poison all of it with the hurt and anger such that it ceases to have ever existed? Think only about all of the lows, the frustrations of the relationship, of how it ended. I want to do that so badly. To tear down everything that we had together, to turn my compromises into sacrifices and make him the villain of my life.

But how do I live with my choice? I spent years with him; we were good together and have a lot of happy memories. As well as some unhappy ones. All relationships do. Which ones will win? Will I become the sad, desperate girl who never gets over lost love? Or will I become the hard, cynical spinster who will never let herself love again?

I don’t know what the answer is.


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