The problem with memories is that they make us remember.
I don't know how often this has happened but exactly 11 years ago today, on an August 16th that fell, too, on a Monday, I lost my Last Great Love. She is the one I loved the most and best. She has been the yardstick against which all those who came after her were measured. And, consequently, no one was good enough.
And so I remain, for the most part of the last decade, alone, but not lonely. Sure, there would be fits and bouts and pauses of sadness- but thank God for a grueling stint in medical school and the more toxic real world. There would be occasional relationship hits, a lot of misses, many promising but eventually false starts. The last two phases of my life left me with not a lot of time to feel selfish and give in to the quicksand of self-pity.
And so, I have learned to embrace, even love, to be alone. Some people would be crippled senseless at the mere thought of eating alone, going to the movies, or window-shopping by one's lonesome. I am more that okay with it. I have to, whether I like it or else.
But then again, I am almost never alone alone. When I'm at the office, I'm surrounded by a whole bunch of co-workers. I have a cacophony of students, patients, community health workers, and the like. My car's radio incessantly chirps away news and views. My social networking subscriptions are at times too much to handle really. My friends from high school, college, and medical school keep me happily sloshed. Plus my family's almost always a phone call, SMS, and a hug away.
I'm not rattling off this litany to make myself feel better, on this Day That I Lost Her. Maybe in losing her, I've found others. In losing her, I've actually found me.
On this Day That I Lost Her, the memories are actually a blessing because they make me remember and celebrate, and help me to be grateful for the four years, eight months, sixteen days, and eight hours we were together and the ensuing decade of love and self-discovery.
For those still struggling with alone-ness, here's an audio-visual aid- How to be alone by Tanya Davis.