Finding The Gratitude In Goodbye


Many, many years ago I had a boyfriend that from the moment I met him I never wanted to say goodbye. I enjoyed every waking moment we spent together. I remember waking up beside him and thinking, “I want to see this face for the rest of my life”, and my heart and soul smiled in agreement.

But as life and love would have it, a few short years later, an eventual goodbye found us. I knew in my gut for a large part of our union that we were not meant to be, per se, but I loved him so deeply that a life without him seemed impossible.

There was no “good” in this good-bye, not for a very long time. It was one of those breakups you never forget. One of those break-ups that makes you forget who you are, why you’re here, what you want and where you’re going. One of those break-ups that makes you forget to eat, forget to move, forget to exist. I would often find myself in a puddle of tears curled up on the floor defeated, lost, alone.

Most breakups are not easy. They lend a certain sort of grief as you experience such a great loss and since life must go on, you have to find a new normal.

You without “them.” Everyday things like doing the dishes, making meals, and watching tv can be the most heart wrenching as they bring back memories of the daily activities they used to be involved in, or that you revolved around them. Sleep is sometimes impossible yet feels like the only relief, until you wake up crying of course and then sleep is no longer your new best friend either. You walk around in a haze, doing what everyone says you should be doing, trying to function as a normal part of society, but all you can think about is the mass devastation to your once upon a happily ever after.

That particular breakup served as one of my biggest life lessons. It literally sent me crashing into a mess of a human, I hit my worst rock bottom as I spiralled into a year of alcohol induced therapy. But as it is with rock bottom, you can only go up from there. It wasn’t a smooth climb, I hit a few boulders on my way up, I slipped a few times and often just wanted to give up on the idea of ever moving on, allowing myself to be the pathetic mess that I was.

Almost 10 years later an old familiar song with the words “never say goodbye” came on and for the first time I was able to remember the entire experience, the roller coaster relationship, the crashing demise and the gruelling climb with exceptional gratitude. It was a light bulb moment, something I never knew I needed, something I had let go of so long ago but out of nowhere came my reprieve.

Pure, eternal gratitude. I was grateful that it ended, because of how much I grew as a person from that experience and so many other experiences I had since our fall apart that I never would have had if we stayed together. I was so grateful for the lessons I learned about myself from being in that relationship. Things I learned about being a partner and a person, things I learned about other people and their needs, wants and motives. Things I learned about the people who truly loved me and stayed by my side as I fell apart day after day.

I felt such deep gratitude for who he was even though he was never the man I needed him to be, because he taught me that:

1. It is unhealthy an unreasonable to rely on anyone else for your own happiness
2. I am so much stronger than I ever thought I was.
3. I know who I am through and through and someone pointing out your shortcomings are only reflections of them and we do not need to accept them.
4. Love is not attachment and desperation.

Sometimes when we are in the thick of it, in our pain and grief we cannot fathom the other side, the light at the end of the tunnel, the possibility of ever finding the good in all of it.

But as time passes, as hearts heal, as souls emerge, you start to see that somehow, someway this was all for the greater good and even if it takes longer than anyone would reasonably expect, you see for yourself that the thing that made you feel the most broken is the best possible thing that ever could have happened to you, to make you whole again.

There may not be much “good” in goodbye, but there will always be something to be grateful for.