“It’s about honoring what happened,” she said. “You met a person who awoke something in you. A fire ignited. The work is to be grateful. Grateful every day that someone crossed your path and left a mark on you.”
This is how Miriam Johnson chose to end her poignant piece. It’s rare to find something so beautiful and disarmingly honest but I can’t bring myself to completely agree with it. After all, some marks reveal themselves as scars over time. And so much of what we experience in love is ethereal and temporal; an intimate microcosm where the hopes, aspirations and values of two people are unveiled and celebrated. However, this environment is an entirely self-constructed one and so it is what we make of it.
If we ground love in honesty and reality it could spark something that lasts a lifetime but exposing it to pretense and fear will only hasten its demise. So how we choose to process and react to love and its end, depends on the sum total of our experiences. If everything was done with the right intentions, as best as it could be then grief should find no room in a heart full of gratitude. However, if what we saw and felt was full of manipulation and inaction then the work is not to be grateful or even dismissive, but to be aware and thoughtful. Our task then becomes to realize that though this loss was significant, it was necessary and will prove to be beneficial for us.
In the end, who we are as people will be revealed to us through our lives. And so, perhaps the purpose of goodbyes is to make room in our lives for those people who will never leave.