The airline attendant made the last call to board the flight out of NY Laguardia to Orlando. I was heading home after three days in the Big Apple and an unbelievable weekend. I was in love. At that time, I was sure he was the one, and I was terrified I would ever see him again.
His company was sending him to Australia and I had graduate school ahead of me… The attendant looked at me once more and made another announcement saying all ticketed passengers needed to be onboard at this time. I was the only one left in the terminal. He pulled me in close, kissed me one last time and broken hearted, I walked down the tarmac thinking it was the end.
That was probably one of the most dramatic and movie-like endings I’ve had. Of course as life would have it, it wouldn't be the only time I said good-bye to him… but that’s another story.
Endings can be hard, sad, beautiful, happy or a mix of bittersweet emotions. Sometimes they are expected and others a complete surprise. I remember the moment I turned over the keys of my marriage house to the new owners. I was relieved because it meant I was beginning a new life with the freedom to chase my happiness. I was going to design the life I wanted - alone. There were no tears, nobody pulling me close to tell me they made a mistake, no effort to try and earn my love back. I walked away with hope and the promise to myself of a brighter dawn.
I suppose there is a difference between an ending you chose and a forced ending. I’ve had several friends refuse to accept something has ended, some due to the loss of a parent under tragic circumstances, others refusing to accept their marriage is over. I can honestly say that years later, they still carry the weight on their shoulders along with unprocessed grief and denial. The refusal to confront any ending can be paralyzing and send you to a dark place where you barely function. You simply numb and repress the emotions that need to come out in order to heal.
One thing I’ve learned though, is that no matter what may end today, the sun will shine again tomorrow. Something new will begin and as difficult as it is to see in the moment, if you are open, the possibilities and adventures are endless.
As for me, it took me ten years to process and accept the end of my first love. There was a beautiful moment when I woke up one day to realize the broken heart I had learned to live with was healed, and it was time to move on.