On loving again after deep loss.
Once upon a time, I met the love of my life. We were together for more than a decade. We were happy until death tore us apart.
More than my partner, he was my best friend; the person who knew me better than I did (I never thought that could be possible). He was my everything, the same way I was his.
This is not a statement of the kind “after people die they become perfect.” Those who knew us, know how good we were together.
My relationship wasn’t perfect, far from it. We fought, we disagreed, and we sometimes got relationship-tired. But we were so solid that we always solved our problems, without our feelings ever changing.
When my partner died, part of me died with him. I was lost for a long time. I grieved in a deep, silent way. I had endless crying nights, where my warm tears were my only comfort. They brought me close to him.
For almost a year I lived in solitude. I moved and start a new life far away from my past. Then I made new friends, and eventually, I regained my smile.
I thank him for that. Before the surgery that took his life, we had “the” conversation — the one that included him asking me to promise I’d be happy.
To his request “promise me you will be happy if the worse happens”, I replied to him I wouldn’t say such a thing. He couldn’t die! We had our lives ahead, to be happy together. What life would I have without my person?
But, knowing it was a high-risk surgery, he asked me again. I couldn’t not answer. Deep down, despite all my fears, I knew it could be our last conversation. As it was.
Time passed by and I started to date again. I did it to find some joy in life. I love to laugh; I enjoy going out and have fun. And, of course, I love sex. I missed it.
For some years, I dated men just for the sake of it. I never expected to love again. Some triggered feelings in me — I never denied me those — but far from love.
No one would make me feel the way my dear B. did. My standards were very high, and I was very aware of it.
I was open to the idea of falling in love, but to truly love someone… no way that could happen again.
I didn’t think I wouldn’t love again out of respect for my late partner. He wanted for me the same I’d want for him if it was me on that dammed hospital bed: for him to be happy; for him to find someone to love and share a beautiful life.
My lack of belief in loving someone again was mathematical. For me, it would be impossible to feel again an honest, deep, and bonding love. Once is a bliss, twice is impossible.
But I was wrong. You can love deeply more than once in your lifetime.
It happened to me. For that, I’m grateful. But my love carries a sense of unloyalty.
My B. was the love of my life. He’s irreplaceable. I will love him forever.
But now, I’m deeply in love with Mr P., and my love for him is now stronger than my love for B. As it should be, of course. But in a way, that makes me sad.
Those you love will stay alive inside you forever. Nothing should disturb those feelings. But you shouldn’t allow those feelings to disturb your present life as well.
Mr P. knows how I feel about my late partner, and my feelings were never an issue. I never compare one with the other, even in my thoughts — that wouldn’t be fair on either of them.
It was never a question of having “the ghost” of my late partner between us. Absolutely not.
My issue is that I have a kind of happiness with Mr P. that I didn’t have with B. My sexual life, for example, is a thousand times better now than it was with my late partner. Despite we were very happy, sexually, I wasn’t completely fulfilled.
Only after meeting Mr P., I discovered my true sexual self and, since then, I’ve been having the best sex of my life. And that makes me feel guilty.
Sometimes I wonder why couldn’t I be this sexual person when I was with B. In the same way, I wonder why wasn’t I tolerant as I am now (I was so reactive!), or why couldn’t I be so relaxed as I am today (I was super stressed).
Lately, I feel guilty not by loving another man, but because I became a person I’d like my late partner to have met. I’m now a better friend, a better lover, a better person and a better partner.
Grief made me reset myself.
My priorities changed, the way I see the world and how I deal with people went through a deep mutation. I became a new me — a much better version of my previous self.
Of course, age matters. Maturity is bliss. But I’m sad over the fact that my beloved B. will never meet the person I am now. One I’m sure he’d love. I wished I became this person with him.
But, simultaneously, I wouldn’t change anything about my present. I’m happy in a way I was never before. I love and I’m loved in a way I was never before.
Not better. Not worse. Just different. Equally complementary, equally honest and deep.
Several times I was told I was very lucky to have lived a true love story.
There’s not a single day I don’t look up to the sky and think about B. He will always be a part of me. He was the most amazing person I ever met. An extraordinary friend, and a devoted partner.
But now I love another man. One that deserves every bit of my feelings and that loves me back in the same proportion.
My heart had to grow a lot to accommodate my two loves. But now it’s time to stop feeling guilty for being as happy as I am. After all, I’m living the promise I made to B.
Losing someone you love is the most acute pain you can feel. It shatters us; it makes us lose hope and purpose.
When grief allows us to think about ourselves again, it’s unthinkable to consider having loving feelings for another person. The space our loved one occupies inside us is immense. For a long time, there will be no room for anybody else.
But time passes, and you will be yourself again — perhaps a better version.
That’s the only thing positive grief has to offer: the possibility to rebuild yourself, to shape your new you.
I never thought to deeply love again after having lost the love of my life. But seven years after losing him, here I am, celebrating love again.
No one will replace the love of your life. But someone might become your second eternal love. You just have to allow your heart to heal.
© 2021 Emma London. All Rights Reserved