That Woman Who Cries…

I’m That Woman Who Cries Over Her Pet Five Years After It Died, so you can imagine how good I am at letting go of people. I carry around pieces of you. And you. And you. I’ve grieved you well enough, but I still wear that hoodie you left me that night we broke up. I still have the pendant you used to wear when I was six. I still read the letter you sent me a year before you died.

(Continued below)


Recently someone asked me how I let go. I don’t. I don’t want to. I learn to live with absence by bringing those I’ve lost closer. I keep the box of tricks they gave us that night at the theatre on my bookshelf. I have every hand-addressed envelope you ever sent me. I tattooed a line from one of your poems on my suicide scar. It reminds me of all the reasons I want to stay alive. I did as you asked the night we saw the moon in a footprint and you said it was a poem waiting to be written. I wish you’d been alive when I wrote it.

When my mentor died, trying to let go of him was impossibly painful. If I could find those parts of him that didn’t die when he did, I could get beyond an impossible grief. If I could incorporate what he valued into my day to day life, I could chip away at his absence until it disintegrated. So that’s what I’ve done with everyone I’ve lost to death.

I wish it worked as well with breakups, but those always seem to have more in common with amputations. That person who’s become so much a part of me that he’s like an extra limb has to be cut off cleanly and utterly. When romance ends, it comes with a hundred nagging questions: could we have fixed our shattered love story? Did we give up too soon? Was it me? Could I have changed?


My brother once told me grief is nothing more than physiology. Maybe scientists do better with loss because they know what it’s made of. As for me, I muddle through relationship endings one absurdly small millimetre at a time. It’s agonisingly slow work.

I’m back at the beginning again: how do I get past the loss of a relationship ? I face the feelings. I cry. That’s it. There’s nothing more that I know how to do. One day, I wake up and find a week has passed without so much as a daydream about him.

Grief after a relationship is like walking through hell. There is a door out of there, but to reach it, you just have to keep walking.


3 thoughts on “That Woman Who Cries…

  1. I think I must be your long-lost twin because I can totally relate to everything you have bravely said here. Very useful and valuable to read. I was talking about this just today. People are ‘inconvenienced’ by grief, especially if it takes up more time than they have allotted for it. And that amount of time is hardly more than an eye-blink, maybe a month for a broken relationship/divorce and maybe 4 for a death. That sickens me. How if you love someone can you just ‘suck it up and get over it’ and why has empathy vanished and been replaced with impatience and intolerance? I hope very much there are more of us out there who do not believe grief has a time table to adhere to or that other’s grief is inconvenient.


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