Some, like myself, may consider the car accident a glaringly obvious foreshadowing of a relationship that was headed in an extremely destructive direction. The thing was I often trusted that no matter how destructive something became, especially in dealing with matters of the heart, it could always be repaired – like the Mazda. Unfortunately, hearts are only repairable when the mechanic inflicting the damage is willing to get his hands dirty, grab his tools and spend some quality time in the shop.
Looking back, I willingly played the exhausting part as mechanic for the majority of my three-year relationship with David but I was often, despairingly, left alone to my own devices. No matter how much time I dedicated to repairs, I could never quite patch up the incessant oil leak. To this day, I still ask that timeless question, “Why isn’t love enough?” And inevitably following that question, that damn Patty Smyth and Bryan Adams duet gets lodged in my mind. And growing up, I naively believed that love could conquer all. I’ve learned the difficult way that it most certainly does not. Loving oneself may conquer all but love, itself, does not.
I recently came across this quote from the movie, Good Will Hunting, and it struck home hard, in so many ways:
If I ask you about women, you’d probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You’re a tough kid. And I’d ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, “once more unto the breach dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap; watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I’d ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell? And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself.
I get intense chills down the length of my spine every time I re-read that. I felt like the character, Sean, was speaking directly to David. And then, of course, I thought of my dear Mother.
During the beginning stages of David and I’s separation last August, I recall a heavy-hearted mid-afternoon conversation between us. As the sorrow became apparent in his deep, brown almond-shaped eyes, the conviction in my heart became a fiery rage as I resolutely declared these exact words, “Don’t you worry about me. I’ve been through a lot worse.” Of course, accurately referring to the devastating loss of my mother. To this, David bared no response. What could one justifiably say when he’s never felt truly happy waking up next to me, when he’s never let himself be truly vulnerable, when he’s never recognized my worth or the depths of my love for him, and when he doesn’t know what it’s like to love someone more than himself?
This brings me back to a part of the dialogue from Good Will Hunting – “…You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself.” I know about real loss and I’m eternally grateful that I know about real loss. If I didn’t know about it, I wouldn’t know what real love is.