For the past few months, I’ve been struggling with the loss of someone significant in my life. It wasn’t the end of a life, but instead, the end of a friendship.
And the grief, at times, has been incredibly overwhelming.
As much as I understand that this person can no longer be a part of my life, it’s left a significantly sized hole in my heart that I’ve mistakenly thought that I needed to fill.
Today, I had a bit of a confrontation with a close friend. Some words were spoken and in that time, I found it so easy to take the easy way out – to follow the ingrained “fight-or-flight” response I’ve lived with my whole life.
As a survivor of child abuse and as someone who lives with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, I initially went into “flight” mode and I got angry. I wanted to walk away. Forever.
But I took a moment to really gather my thoughts, to ask myself whether getting angry had really solved anything.
Was I just doing what I’d always done and taking the easy, safe option and running away?
I realised I was and I apologised for my behaviour. I heard this other person. They heard me.
And as a result, this confrontation has brought our friendship closer.
Today’s confrontation helped me to see how important this person is to me, how much value they add to my life, how they make me a better person.
And it also helped me to see that this hole in my heart doesn’t need to be filled. It just is.
Nobody can ever replace this person. Nothing can ever replace the time we had, the memories we shared, what he gave to me and I to him.
But I can fill my life with other people who make me happy, who create new memories, who help me to see another perspective to life.
Much like the death of a loved one, there are parallels with the end of a relationship. You never stop loving someone, you just learn to live without them. Even if thinking about them hurts. Even if you find it hard not to drown out your sorrows with alcohol or go down unhealthy ways of coping sometimes. Even if you wonder if they’re thinking about you or if they’ve forgotten you. Even if you question whether letting go was the right thing at all.
Thank you to this person for bringing me years of happiness, for challenging me to be my best possible self, for helping me to see strengths I didn’t even know I had.
I am who I am today because of this person.
And even though our friendship could not continue, he continues to live on in me when I doubt myself and I remember him cheering me on. Even when I question whether I’m “too nice” and I hear him telling me that the world needs people like me. Even when my traumatic past makes me want to break down in tears and I hear him tell me that he is a better man because of me.
Nobody, nothing will ever fill the hole that you’ve left in my heart.
But that’s okay because nobody, nothing has to.
I will go on living and being the person you always knew I was. The person who’s now strong enough to say goodbye to you forever.
Thuy Le (formerly known as Thuy Yau) is a freelance writer and Youth Work graduate living in Perth, Australia. She loves to share her own personal experiences about overcoming adversity, as she believes that human beings are more capable than they realise. She writes to make a positive difference in the world and to inspire others to learn from themselves and their own experiences. Her writing has been discussed on radio, won writing contests, appeared on The Huffington Post UK and major Australian sites such as news.com.au, SMH, Kidspot and Essential Kids. She is currently writing her first book.