Feeling your heart breaking from the inside out is one of the worst pains any of us encounters in life—but the agony of having to let go when the other person’s grip has already loosened is like salt on an open wound.
We were that couple everyone aspired to be. We were happy. We were whole. We laughed and cried together—always together. Somewhere along the way, something in him shifted, and I don’t know how or why.
Today I laid by my friend’s pool, feeling the sun’s rays fall across my body while emotions stirred restlessly in my chest.
For months, I knew this was coming. I heard the messages, spoken and unspoken, and I tried to address them, only to be met with silence or anger. I had a knowing about what was happening, even though he denied it, and I found myself gripping tighter to what I knew was slipping away.
It left me feeling needy, wanting to hear the affirmations I wasn’t getting and wanting him to feel the things I knew he didn’t. The more I sensed him disconnecting, the harder I tried. The harder I tried, the more he wanted to run.
Those nudges that we feel inside of our hearts are important to heed and nurture. Those little whispers from within are quiet but powerful because, often, what we don’t yet know with our minds, we know with our hearts. Listen. Always listen.
Finally, I heard the words come from his lips: “I can’t give you what you want.” But he could have. He had for years. He just didn’t want to anymore.
Nothing rips your heart in two like feeling rejected, unloved, and misunderstood by the person you love most. It feels like a death, losing someone like this. In a way, it is. All of the things we thought we knew about the life we were sharing with that person are gone.
No more traveling the world, wandering through crowds hand-in-hand, eating street food on park benches.
No more falling asleep with my head on his shoulder and my hand across his chest.
No more chopping and cooking together with glasses of wine and the sounds of jazz playing in the background.
No more us.
And so, today I sat by the pool feeling restless and sad. Today, I allow myself to feel these things—to acknowledge the loss and the pain, because this I know:
I will be fine. I am still whole. I am still beautiful. I am still worthy of love.
And so are you.
Letting go is so hard—but perhaps part of the trial is coming to terms with the fact that something new and less familiar is ahead. The universe has a way of giving all of us what we need; we just have to keep walking, one foot in front of the other, and tending to our wounds until they become our strengths.
With the sun shining above, I stood from my lounger and stepped first with one foot, then the other, onto the first pebble-stone step of the pool. Stepping down, the water wrapped itself around me as the heat from my skin dissolved into the blue.
I am baptized into a new beginning.
Author: Amanda Christmann
Image: Unsplash/margot pandone
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
About the author: Amanda Christmann is a freelance writer and editor who loves good words, good wine and good times with friends and family. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona and travels far and often. She is an avid cyclist, runs with scissors and finds great joy in playing in her kitchen. In addition to elephant journal, her work has been featured by Women For One, Tattooed Buddha and Images Arizona magazine, among other publications. Connect with Amanda via her Facebook page.Browse Front PageShare Your Idea