I’ve been reminiscing today…reading my journal and that tattered notebook where I scribble poems. I haven’t been able to do that lately – reminiscing, I mean.
It is a bittersweet experience. I read old letters to myself, unsent letters to him, and journal entries of every special memory. Everything rushes back. All those giddy, triple-exclamation-point words tell me how deeply, how hopefully I loved. I was never able to write a real poem about us. I wrote one for him, for his birthday, but it never even came close to saying how I really felt inside. I guess that’s just how it is – when you’re happy, intensely happy, words don’t suffice. And I was happy then. Joyful, exhilarated, intoxicated with dreams and endless possibilities. Anything, everything was possible. We were in love.
I move on through my journal, a few months after that first my-dreams-are-coming-true entry. Here, the exclamation points give way to question marks. The poems fill seventeen pages. The unsent letters are more than I care to count. There are tear stains on the paper. Here, the emotions are fresh – I do not need the words to bring back memories of the pain, the confusion, the emptiness. I can remember. It was almost a year ago, but I can still remember everything. How every unanswered question I wrote down cut like a knife. How I doubted the reality of the memories I recorded a few pages before. How I couldn’t write more than a few phrases before giving in to tears. My words recall my journey through denial, disappointment, grief, and finally resignation and letting go. I read the lines “maybe some dreams are destined to die…” and a part of me, a small part really, wishes that I didn’t have to grow up and learn that. Strange how a few months can change a whole lifetime.
As I read the last poem, I remember writing it and wondering how I would feel someday, wondering if I would ever heal. I can finally answer those questions. Yes, I have healed. Yes, I can smile again, real smiles that hide no tears beneath the surface. I can laugh again without feeling like a fraud. It is amazing, really, to remember all that and realize that I am finally free. Only now are the questions being answered, but renewal has already taken place. I had something more than time to heal me. I had Love. Perfect, steadfast, forever Love. It is enough. No, more than enough.
And so I look back and smile. I do not deny that I still have regrets and questions, nor do I claim to have quelled the love that has given me so much joy and has taught me how to cry. My life is a work in progress, and healing is not the same as forgetting. But I am no longer tied to the memories. I can, as the cliche says, move on. Live on. And someday, at the right someday, love again.