I think that when you experience grief at pivotal point in your life, it changes you. Now I also think that experiencing grief at any point changes you, but hear me out. I think that in those pivotal moments, it changes how you love. I know that this is completely true for me.
When I lost my dad at 13, I was still figuring out who I was and all the typical early teen angst you expect to go through. It wouldn’t be until four years later that I would fully begin to understand how that changed me. Despite the fact that I began to take my inward pain out on myself, I loved others fiercely and recklessly. I never wanted anyone to feel the emptiness that I felt. So I loved with everything I had to give.
Over the years, the emptiness has ebbed and flowed, but the inward pain is no longer turned on myself. But the degree to which I love hasn’t changed. I still love recklessly. And the more I’ve gone along in life, the more I realize that sometimes loving recklessly allows for situations that you didn’t ask for. And sometimes it leads you to believing that it could all be gone in the blink of an eye.
I think that’s where the grief comes back into play.
You love recklessly because of the grief that has changed you. But because you love so recklessly, you will hold on to those people at any cost, and at the slightest hint that it could all be slipping away, you do a complete 180 and push away and build walls.
But sometimes you get lucky. The very people that you tried to push away, to your surprise, stay. But it’s never quite the same. No matter how hard you try to convince yourself it is. Because pain changes people. It changes how they love.
“We’ve all done things we weren’t proud of. I understand that. I know nobody’s perfect, but how do you live with it? How do you get up every morning knowing you could have done better, that you should have done better? Is being sorry enough? Can an apology actually heal our wounds? Ease our pain? Can it undo the hurt that we’ve caused?”
I love that quote. Those are tough words to swallow. But I think there comes a point where you have to allow the apology to be enough, regardless of if the other parties agree. Apologies can’t undo the hurt that we’ve caused, but it can bridge the gap that was left in place of the hurt.
I will never regret loving recklessly. It’s just who I am. I will regret the pain that it’s caused to other people, but surprisingly don’t regret the pain it’s caused me. It’s just part of loving like I do. I’ve loved recklessly for the past 14 years. It’s just part of who I am now. And while it’s caused a lot of heartache, it’s also brought a lot of love.
It’s all about a balance. And sometimes I fail to find that balance. I often love more than what is returned, but not for a moment have I regretted it. When I love someone, I will love with everything I am and through every difficult moment.
I will continue to love and I will continue to try and find that balance. I will probably fail, a lot. But that’s okay. Because love is worth the risk.