I have been hesitant to sit down and write for the last week. The level of change that has occurred in two weeks feels like a heavy wet blanket laying over me. Some grief has caught me in moments but I feel as if I am holding my breath, waiting for the full realization to wash over me and I want to be fully alone when it does. In the last 10 days I have experienced a wonderful vacation to Gatlinburg Tennessee that I planned weeks before. I was able to secure my first Airbnb and with my birthday just two days after Christmas, it was going to be the perfect 4 day weekend! A Smoky Mountain Christmas! Just 5 days before me and my new love were to leave on our trip I was notified that my last long term boyfriend of 4 years had died.
I was driving down the road when I read the news through a text message from a friend who was probably too scared and emotional to call me in person. He was only 54, and had just had a birthday in November. He worked out regularly and by all appearances look to be a very healthy guy. I was shocked and heart broken. We had broke up at the end of 2019 and finalized things with a trip to Gatlinburg of all places, in October of 2019. It was a friendly and mature breakup by most standards but the truth is, I was heart broken. I loved him and really struggled with the break-up. Over the next year life was full of struggle for me. I was completing my masters degree and trying to date as I watched him show up pretty quickly with someone new on his arm.
Let’s just say 2020 was not good. Between the pandemic, multiple failed attempts at moving on and dating someone new, and struggling through work and school… I was exhausted and just trying to heal. In 2021 all the change I had prayed so hard for in 2020 came in like a wrecking ball! I graduated with my masters degree, met a great guy from my home town, got a new job, moved back to my home town, sold my house, and watched my daughter get engaged. All the changes happened so fast but even the stress of it all was good stress with many positive outcomes. I was finally at a point in my life where I was not thinking about him on a regular basis and I had fully began to embrace the new life I was making when the news came.
Nobody prepares you for a loss like this. First of all, I know you may find this amazing, but at 43 years old I had managed to live my life without losing anyone really close to me. I mean, I have heard about school friends passing but they were not super close to me at the time of their death. This was someone I had shared pretty much a daily connection with for four years and we had only been apart for 2 years. I felt like I was losing him all over again. I also felt this weird sense of guilt because I have a wonderful new man in my life but here I am grieving and looking through all the memories of this man from my past. The mix of emotions is overwhelming and so hard to explain to someone who has not experienced it. The grief comes when I allow it but I have not fully allowed it yet. The services will be next week and I am trying to prepare myself for what I know will come.
It was bitter sweet and so very ironic to be vacationing in the last place I vacationed with him. It wasn’t planned that way but it felt almost like a tribute in my heart to say, yes I remember, even though it didn’t work out we had many good times. All the traveling we did together was amazing and he taught me a lot, in some ways about how I wanted to be and in others how I did not want to be. He wasn’t perfect but I think I am realizing that he loved me the best way he knew how. It feels ironic that he died from complications in his heart. It was easy to see in the four years that we had together, he was not always good at expressing deeper and more loving emotions. The heart chakra was definitely a bit wounded and blocked for him and I tried hard to figure out why with only bits and pieces revealed by him about his childhood.
After celebrating Christmas overlooking the Smoky Mountain tops and turning the big 44 sitting at a rooftop bar overlooking downtown Gatlinburg, I realize what an amazing adventure life can be. Every single person who touches our lives makes an impact and some even steal a piece of your heart forever. So today I am thankful…thankful for all of you who read my words, all who have touched my life, no matter how big or small. Thank you for making my life amazing and please remember to tell those you care about that you love them often. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and I love you all!
With love, health, and happiness