A dear friend of mine posted just one line on her blog: “how does it feel, to have to walk away from someone you deeply love?”
The first thought that entered my mind was My Girl (yes, that shows how much I’ve been thinking about it). But then my thoughts went another, deeper, direction. My instinctive reply to her question is: “It hurts like hell.”
I may not have had to go through a broken romantic relationship before, but I have had to walk away from not one, but three friendships I treasured deeply. I never thought there would come a day when I had to walk away from someone I still loved. Growing apart slowly is one thing… but having to forsake a relationship that was still deeply significant is an entirely different matter. It felt like a part of me was hacked off and cast away.
I told Zibin that I felt like I was going through a relationship break-up. The process of grieving was the same… shock, anger, sadness, frustration and a heart that would never really be the same again. It has been a long time, but even now, I still realize from time to time that I’m still in the process of healing.
At the time, I never thought of it as me walking away from someone I loved. I felt there really was no choice. I had tried in every way to protect those I loved, but I ended up hurting them even more. I could not accept that reality at the time. In the end, I was finally able to acknowledge that the only thing I could do for them was to walk away.
What hurt me most deeply at the time was that even as I was saddened at having to walk away, those very people I loved seemed also to have abandoned me. While I still treasured the friendship we had shared, it seemed as if they felt our friendship had been wrong, and that I had hurt them badly. To have struggled so much and to have chosen to walk away because I loved them and yet to have been misunderstood and rejected was almost more than I could bear. It was so painful that for the first time in my life I actually cut off certain mutual acquaintances from my social life because I couldn’t bear to be affected by them.
But I have no regrets. From that painful lesson, I was taught a very deep lesson in love. I learned that love is not limited to being together with someone, or even necessarily sharing your life with someone. Really loving someone is being able to do what he or she really needs you to do, regardless of how you feel about it.
I have always been afraid of losing those I love. So much so that subconsciously, the way I love people is influenced by whether or not what I do will keep them at my side. I never realized that about myself… until I had to walk away from these friends I loved so much. Ironically, in walking away from them, and in deciding to accept their judgment and misunderstanding, I have done the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do for any friend. I have in a sense, given them my greatest act of love to date.
The wounds are deep for me, and perhaps just as deep for them. But from those wounds have come many blessings for me. I once told those friends that I believe good can always still come from evil if we choose to act with love. We’ll stumble, we’ll make mistakes, and we will hurt ourselves as well as others, but we must always keep faith and keep hope. Despite the fact that I’m still in the process of healing, I’ve never ceased to pray and hope that they too have grown stronger and happier.
I hope I won’t have to walk away from people I love anymore in this life. Who does?! But if I have to, at least now I am more prepared to do whatever it takes to love someone… not for me, but for the person I love. And, dare I say it, I am prepared to love even if it is unappreciated and unacknowledged. There are perhaps some of you for whom this statement doesn’t seem to be very difficult to do. But for me to say this, it is huge.
The fact that I can write this blog entry is a watershed of sorts for me. To those of my friends who have been aware of this heartbreak of mine and who have been so tender and loyal, I could never thank you enough. Don’t let this issue be a burden to you anymore. I truly mean it!