Further to my previous blog, I thought I would take a moment to document a fortunate episode that happened to me on a recent trip to London.
About 7 years ago, I was in a relationship with R. We were prepared for marriage and spending the rest of our lives together. He was my first real love, and "adult relationship." I loved him and he loved me. We were compatible on so many different levels, and incompatible on others. I let the latter get the best of me, and opted to wait on Ever After. Unfortunately, that meant R - a citizen of the UK - would have to return to England after his US visa ran out. We agreed it wouldnt be a long separation; he could still visit me, and I him, and within a year we would get it sorted so we could be together. Alas, the physical distance between us quickly led to emotional distance and after a brief phone call one Saturday afternoon, we parted ways. We reached out to each other on occasion, but as in many other similar scenarios we eventually stopped corresponding altogether.
R was never far from my mind though. I thought of him often, and regarded him as the "one who got away." It was during one of those "I wonder whatever happened to..." moments early one Spring morning that curiosity got the best of me and I sought out his Facebook page. R was never a frequent social networker so it hadnt struck me as odd that I hadnt seen him online in awhile. The first post I saw was from his friend, and left me in shock:
"Praying your soul rests in peace and our memories of you stay alive in our thoughts and hearts forever. You will be missed."
No...it couldnt be!
I read on:
"I'm in shock and deeply saddened. You were a shining star in this world and will be missed by many."
"You will be missed dearly man. God Bless your soul"
"Rest in Peace"
He was...dead? How could that happen?!
Shock faded to tears and I immediately got up and called my sister. She didnt know what to say; she hadnt seen or heard anything about R in 4 years...what could she say but "I'm sorry, Beth."
I needed answers...but he and I didnt have any mutual friends in common anymore. I went through his Friends list and found a name I recognized as a family friend whom he had spoken of often. I sent her a message, explaining who I was and asked her what had happened. to him She responded almost immediately and explained that he had passed on due to some sort of infection. She had more information she wanted to share with me over the phone, but we never did connect. I just continued on...living my life, occasionally succumbing to moments of sadness, usually manifesting in a deep sigh and a temporary fleeting thought "I wonder what would have happened had we stayed together? Would I be a widow? Would he still be alive had I been around to take care of him?" I'm smart enough to know his passing was not my fault, but still...I wondered.
Jump ahead two years to last month: I traveled to London to join my brother and his family on their vacation from Italy. R's family friend saw mention of my trip on Facebook and asked if we could meet. I said yes; that would be lovely.
We went for lunch near Hampstead Heath - a quaint British pub that had a photo of the Queen Mum on the wall, pulling a pint. We exchanged stories about R...how she came to know him and his family, and watched him grow from a young boy. She shared with me about how he used to talk about me...how she knew he was quite fond of me. And she mentioned how it seemed to her that after our split, he never seemed to find anyone else he could love as he loved me.
When I heard this, I didnt know what to think. I was confused. Should I feel guilty? Should I have worked harder to make the relationship survive?
Then I realized...this is what closure looks like. This is an opportunity for me to finally close the chapter on that part of my life and to open myself up to other possibilities. Of course, I've often felt I was open (reference prior blog) but I dont think I really was, which I realize in hindsight may explain some of my bad luck (and bad choices) with men.
I came home from that trip feeling elated...feeling that finally I could seize whatever opportunity presented itself, and that maybe I can just own up to my feelings towards a certain someone. Unfortunately, my timing was off and it was too late to have that conversation with him. I was devastated, and am still upset about the situation, but what can I do?
I believe in my heart that if God sees fit, he will set me on the path to finding another true love. As they say, when the Lord closes one door, he opens another. And I am anxiously waiting to walk through.