As the grave of an 11 year relationship disappears from my rear view mirror, I turn my eyes to the road ahead. I have no idea where it leads but I do know that where I go, what I do, and who I meet along the way will help shape the journey. But nothing will shape it more than the attitude I bring with me.
Up until a month ago, I was happy in the relationship. I was assured repeatedly that my partner was also. This turned out to be a lie. Out of the blue, I was told the relationship, and I, were the cause of years of unhappiness, and that there was no interest now in saving it.
It was a sudden and fatal wound. There was no action I could take and no words I could say. The relationship was DOA. There was no chance to save it. No heroic measure to be tried. No vigil at the bedside.
"I'm done", I was told, and the sheet was pulled up over the face of the life we had been living.
And I was done too.
Off came the wedding and engagement rings, and I began thinking about my future. I had to live through a few weeks of hell before the move out was over, but my mother taught me how to endure hard times by reminding myself that it would be over soon. And it was.
See, I am a wild woman, stubborn, and a fighter, and I would rather gnaw off my right arm than let someone else's decisions throw me into chaos. If I am going into chaos, I am going to charge in there on my own and create something new and wonderful FOR ME out of it. I won't be defeated and I won't be defined by anyone else.
Years ago, when I was young and things like this seemed like the end of the world, I'd moon and moan over dead relationships for years. Torture myself with memories, with "what ifs", with false hope that the person would realize their mistake and come back to me.
Well I just don't have the time or energy for that kind of drama these days. If someone doesn't want to be with me, I don't want them around either.
I've become more philosophical about change, including the death of a long time relationship.
When something ends, let it go and look forward, not back.
Blame will keep it shackled to me so let go of blame.
Regret and "if only I had" are pointless because the past cannot be altered.
There is great value in a short period of picking over the carcass to find the bones I need to learn and truths to remember. Not as sticks to beat myself with, but as important tools to slip into my bundle for the future.
I left this note on the grave as I walked away: "I loved this person and I do not regret one minute of those years."
And now I am moving on, building a life that nourishes me. Decorating my home with my quirky things and embracing this unexpected opportunity.
You see, I was happy. I do not need to revise my experience to include someone else's unhappiness. That person had a different experience than I had during the same period of time. So I can pick up the threads of happiness and reweave them back together, but in a new pattern.
It may have been something Caroline Myss wrote in her latest book, "Defy Gravity", but the phrase "Get better or get bitter" has run through my mind lately.
Screw bitter! I'm all about better.