Calendar days fall away and come to rest together like a pile of leaves, rustling in the wild, winter wind.
Our hearts break, and yet the sun still rises. Breaking hearts still beat, and lovers gone from us live only in our memories—fixed forever in the moments that we shared, moments that only have meaning to us.
I’ve been thinking about love and what happens to it when those we love leave us behind. I once fell in love and was left behind. I keep expecting the love to leave as abruptly as he did, and yet it stays. It endures. And I wonder how the love can be so constant when the object of that love was not—but then I am constant where he was not.
After he left, I thought:
Run. Keep running, far and fast—or live like your eyes never held my own a willing prisoner. Forget everything that we said and every time you reached out to me to find me reaching back. Go further and stay gone, and yet…the love remains. Strong and steadfast, as I have been to the memory of what was. Loyal and unchanging, though I have changed. Run, and I will not chase you. Forget—I won’t remind you. Go further—I won’t follow. Stay gone—the love is still here, free now, even of you. Gone from where it wasn’t wanted and now residing in all, in everything. Endless and powerful. Mine, when you never were.
And that’s just it—the love isn’t gone because I didn’t leave.
The love was mine, not his. It came from me, belongs to me and whether or not it’s returned is irrelevant to its existence. It is, because I am. Because I’ve lived deeply in those moments and have loved intensely. Because I felt afraid, and yet loved anyway, even if I only spoke the words after the end.
When we love, we open doors within ourselves.
We were closed houses, boarded-up and tired, straining under the eaves…and the light poured in. With that light came shadows, but we were transformed. And we can board up our lives again, keeping everyone out—or we can embrace all of the light. Either way, we live with the choices we make.
And the love now belongs only to us after the loss. It is ours to hold close or to share with the world. So what will we choose? And how do we learn to live with a love set free from the ones who brought it to us? How do we become love, free of an object?
We can feel love. Just feel it—embrace it, without judgment. We can let it fill us up and acknowledge its presence. We can stop pretending or wishing it away, and we can realize that it belongs to us now.
We can give love away. The love we give doesn’t deplete us. Sharing it only makes love more powerful—and so, we can love everyone in our lives intensely.
We can focus on the love that we’re given. Just because one heart didn’t love us doesn’t mean that we are unlovable or without love. We need to cherish the love that we’re given—even in the cases where we don’t return it.
We can be open to new love. If love given isn’t depleted, we are capable of loving anew. But to do this, we cannot close our hearts or build up walls to keep others out. We have to learn to feel everything, and to let people get close to us, even though it hurts.
We can speak love but also show it. This isn’t just about saying: I love you. It’s about speaking everything from a place of love. And beyond speaking it, we must show it. Love is too precious too waste, and it needs to be expressed, heard and felt in equal measure.
We can choose love—or hide from it. We can become love—or let pain rule us.
But our love remains, steadfast and unchanging, and so much more powerful when we own it and share it with others.
We can give the love away, accept the love we’re given, and soon we’ll become love itself.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Deviant Art
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina