It was listening to ‘our’ song on the radio last week that made me realise that I wasn’t quite finishing grieving the end of my last relationship. I’ve been doing really well most of the time. Being positive, moving forward, embracing the possibilities and happiness that my single life can bring. But the song came on, the tears flowed and I realised that I’m still sad, underneath it all.
I visited the new exhibition at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam this Sunday (Van Gogh & Munch, which is wonderful) and this rough quote from one of Munch’s sketchbooks took my breath away.
Human fates are like planets.
Like a star that emerges
from the dark
and meets another star
shines for a second before disappearing again
into the dark – it is in this way
a man and a woman meet – glide towards
one another, are illuminated in love’s
flames – to then disappear
in their separate directions –
Only a few meet in a
single large blaze – where they both
can be fully united.
I ended up fighting back tears in the museum, struck by a response that I wasn’t expecting. Later that evening, we arrived back at the airport, and I was sad there was no-one there to meet me. No-one who had missed me.
Even though I’m sad, I think that it’s important to sit with these feelings, and allow them space. Always being stoic, trying to pretend that everything is ok when it’s not, feels like it’s diminishes the importance to me of the relationship that I’ve lost. Getting over it will take as long as it will take and there’s no point in pretending otherwise. So I will give my grief the time and respect it deserves.
But there is always tomorrow. And I know that there is lots of happiness to come. I feel like it’s just around the corner and the more I work through my feelings about the space in my life and–and this is my real truth–the huge loss of self-esteem that I’ve suffered by being left, the stronger and happier I’ll be for any potential new relationship. I have friends who are listening to me tell the same stories about this over and over again, and one day, I’ll get to the end. Find a new Happily Ever After–whether that’s alone or in a new relationship.
As Munch himself said, “Joy is the companion of sorrow. Spring the messenger of Autumn. Death is the birth of life.”
And now I’m going to make sure that I keep talking about it, being open, honest and not backing down from being wholehearted, even when it’s painful. Because most of the time I’m my usual, positive self. But sometimes it really bloody hurts.