It is Christmas, and as I sit down to write this thoughtful piece, I find myself reminded of a particularly relevant Christmas movie quote:
“Oh, life is like that. Sometimes, at the height of our revelries, when our joy is at its zenith, when all is most right with the world, the most unthinkable disasters descend upon us.” – Ralphie, A Christmas Story
So true, Ralphie, SO TRUE.
You know, I had this whole intention to drag this part of my story out. Make the Dating After Divorce series an eight-parter, and really delve into what happened between John and I. This relationship meant a great deal to me after my divorce, but I really don’t want to write about it anymore. John is gone. There’s nothing I can do about that, and continuing to write about him won’t do anyone any good.
Unbelievably, I did fall in love with John. I fell in love with him fairly quickly, and I was pretty sure he felt the same. No, it wasn’t the kind of love that you build over a lifetime. It wasn’t the kind of love that you would fight for and would die for, day in and day out (at least, not yet). But it was the kind of love that got me to thinking that there was SOMEONE ELSE out there that I would fight for…SOMEONE ELSE to make me see that there are some things in this world that I would give anything for.
John’s love was one of those things that I might have given anything for. And at nearly the precise moment I realized I didn’t need to give anything to get it, John completely disappeared from my life.
At the height of my revelry, when my joy was at its zenith, when all was most right with the world, the most unthinkable disaster descended upon me.
It was devastating each day that tick-tocked by. I didn’t know if John was dead, I didn’t know if he had been hurt, I didn’t know if he had just lied to me about everything. I didn’t know…PERIOD. I sent John a final text message one month after his disappearance imploring him to say something to me, anything. And when I didn’t hear back, well, what could I do? I patched up my broken heart, and I kept trucking.
Four days later, though, I received a reply. I won’t go into every detail of what John said because, honestly, some of it is crazy, some of it you’d never believe, and well, some of it is stuff I just want to keep to myself.
In a nutshell, though, John told me that he had fallen for me hard, but for where he was in his life and career, he just couldn’t see having that kind of relationship and making it work. He said he would miss me, and he hoped that I would find someone who cared for me the way he did. He said he would always remember me.
Bullshit is a word that crossed my mind a time or two…
Then, as I often do, I began to think with my heart. And somewhere in the jumble of thoughts and feelings, notions and emotions, I came to a conclusion. It’s not a novel idea or anything; it’s even a bit cliché.
Love was not enough to get me to stay in my marriage. I loved Haywood with all my heart, and I still have love for him to do this day. But the love I had for him was not enough to overcome the problems that plagued our relationship. It was not enough for us to truly make a life together in the midst of the struggle, pain, and woe. It was not enough to make me stay in a life that no longer made sense to me.
And love was not enough to make John stay. No matter how amazing our love was, no matter how many fairy tale moments we shared and might have shared in the future, he found that he could not sacrifice the life that he was on the path to obtaining for our love. And that’s what love is, really. It’s sacrifice. A part of loving others means that you have to be willing to give certain things up. It’s the price we pay for the great reward of giving love, and being loved in return.
This part of my story is over, John and I’s story is over. But I will always be grateful for the great love that John showed me that whole magical summer. It was literally unlike anything I’d ever felt in my life, and I have to be satisfied that he made me happy, even if it was only for a little while.
To end, I’ll leave it with John’s own words. I always thought it funny, but years before he had met me, it seemed John had written the song that would define our relationship to me.
“The farther apart we get, we still feel closer than most, It’s an honor to present you these roses, It’s nice to know at least with the band and with Scar, and The Remnant, Some of these sentiments can come to light, And I can only be who I am, Cause you are what you’ve been, I hope that you’ll remember you’re my sunlight, Love.”