“Moving On” Doesn’t Mean “Stop Loving”

When we first parted, I wasn’t sure how I’d continue to live happily with the hole left in my heart. I wondered if people do this all the time – regular people walking around with huge cavities missing from their souls, going about their business, functionally handicapped by the immense pain that comes from loss of love. Was I one of those people now? Did I have this invisible affliction, like a disease, or an amputation? Do they make prostheses for the pieces of us that go missing when we lose out on love?

I also wondered if my ex was feeling any of this, or had he moved on? I detest the word “ex” because it reminds me of being in school and getting a question wrong. There’s the green check marks beside the correct answers, and then there’s those dreaded red X’s. I’ve done something wrong. I messed this one up. I didn’t study hard enough for this test of life. Or perhaps it’s when we take a big, fat sharpie and cross out something we don’t like, when we can’t erase it but we want it gone. Like a mistake made in pen. I wrote you in pen in my life. I was sure of you. But now I can’t erase you, so perhaps I’ll just ex you out.

I felt like I was waiting for something – for a wound to close, for some kind of catharsis, so I could say, “I’ve moved on”. I wrote a verse:

What do I do with this love for you?

It’s not enough to call me back…into the arms,

the sheets,

the smells,

the heat,

the anger.

But it’s restraining me from moving on.

I’m stuck in this purgatory of love

That is over

But not gone

It haunts me like an echo

That bounces off the spaces in my heart

The ones you left

When you took me with you – wherever you’ve gone.

What do I do

This love is too sweet to forget

And too painful to remember.


Then I saw you. I needed my vacuum back. And my university degree, in a broken frame, because it broke when we moved in together. My palms were sweaty when I walked over to our old home. The house that is now just yours, not mine. Not ours. I realized that over 4 months, I’d forgotten what your voice sounded like. It is so strange to me that in the same lifetime I could have known you – known everything, every detail, shared every intimacy, every dream, every goal…and then somehow forgot the sound of the voice that spoke those promises. So strange.

Beyond acquiring my Dirt Devil, I felt like I needed something. “Closure”, so I could “move on”. But as we spoke I realized two things:

1.) As much as I love you, I realize that being together would no longer serve either of us, and

2.) There is no such thing as “moving on”.

Not how I thought of it, anyways. Not like scribbling out the mistake, not like going back and studying harder for the questions I got wrong…there was no wrong. I am not wrong. There’s nothing WRONG with me. And there’s nothing wrong with you. There’s nothing to fix. There’s nothing to eradicate so I can avoid future suffering in relationships. It just is. We are no longer as we were, and it just IS. The pain is dull and cold, and it just is. There’s nothing I can do about it. And, it’s okay. It’s not a handicap, or a badge, or a weight, or a hindrance. It’s not a reason to lock myself in a room, quarantined because I am somehow deficient at love, sure to wreck the next ship I sail. I left you BECAUSE I love you. Because sometimes it’s okay to love someone and not be with them, because it’s better that way, for no other reason than because it IS. Because we are imperfect and life is messy and uncertain, and there is no higher power with a giant red pen to make giant “X’s” on our mistakes. The only higher power is love, and I love you. I will always love you. I will always be a little sad. And that sadness will make me soft, and appreciative. Knowing this sadness will make me more grateful for the warmth of happiness. This space you left has just ripped my heart a little wider, and I will only love bigger because of it.

I have not moved on, but you have moved me. And I will be forever grateful for this.


Namaste.mike carol