To Love and To Lose

“It is  better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.”
– Alfred Lord Tennyson

This line hits me in the gut every time I hear it. Used to be I wanted to puke every time I heard it. No, more than that, I thought it was bullshit. Love ended in hurt, always ended in pain. It was easier to build walls, keep people at arms’ length. I could maintain control that way. I would never love someone as much as they loved me. I would play it safe somewhere in the middle of “I don’t want to know you enough to like you” and “If something happens I can walk away with minor scrapes and bruises.”

For most of my life, I have lived i this cage. I thought I was keeping everyone out so I could be me, never let anyone or anything hold me back. But I was trapped myself. The walls left me cold, angry, and lonely.

Then I met Mitch. His genuine and gentle nature scared me to death. Too good to be true. The way he respected me and wanted to take care of me made me even more skeptical. But it felt good, and his smile made me weak. I hated it but it felt nice.

For two solid years we built something. It was good. Full of fun and passion…but there was a struggle. Both of us were holding hands, but from the confines of our own cages. We were close, but only in a way that felt safe. And then we got scared. Pushing and pulling finally tore us apart. I tried to move on. Told myself he was like the rest and I would be fine.

Every song, every commercial, everything reminded me of him. I cried myself to sleep and prayed about it every night for a long time. I made up reasons to call or text. Once I even called to see if he could bring over a ladder to replace the battery in my beeping fire alarm…despite the fact the condo association had one in the hall closet. Any reason just to see him.

When he showed up that night, I realized I wanted him and I wanted more. For the first time, I didn’t want to put up the lonely walls. I cared about what might happen and I was scared, but I knew he would be worth it. Even if it didn’t end well. For the first time, I knew what that line meant…

“It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.”

That is one of the greatest gifts Mitch has given me. My heart is open, there is no more cage. The highs and lows, the love and hurt, have made me feel alive in a way I never knew was possible.

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