When it is obvious, as in the case of a divorce, say -- people reach out to you, share their stories, commiserate. You find new tribes and supports and ways to get by until the sharp scathing pain and the choking lack of breath becomes a dull ache, and then a slight twinge.
But when it has been clandestine, under wraps ... you lose your whole grip on the world and this planet and life just keeps spinning madly on as if it never happened at all and you question everything you thought you knew and believed, you question your intelligence and your faith and your trust and your worth. And things moving while you're immobile, paralyzed by your lack of understanding and jarring, invisible loss -- it feels seismic, and you find yourself looking around with widened eyes, praying that someone else felt that, too.
Except no one does, unless you tell them. And in telling them, you compound your loss, your regret, your heartbreak, because you have to come clean. You have to admit you are not the person even you thought you were. And the shame blankets everything, darkens all the lucid spots, clouds over any validity you may have once thought existed until all that's left is a sad, sorry trope yet again repeated in your life, but from a different, less honorable perspective.
Your brain tells you that your grief is selfish, as you mourn something that was never really yours in the first place, even though you truly thought it was on the cusp of being everything you hoped and dreamed, everything you had been promised. But your heart -- your heart whimpers that it was real, as real as anything else you've ever known, and it bears mourning not only in it's loss, but in it's betrayal and your abandonment.
Your disposability is crushing, another heart-wrenching episode in the long line of events convincing you of your inevitable invisibility. You are an hourglass running out of sand and you know it. You have always known it.
But as with these things, as with most things, the brutal ending allows no path for return, cutting the largest wound of them all in its wake. It is Done with a capital D and you will never have closure, you will never see a return on the time and the energy and the trust and the love that you spent a year of your life putting forth against the odds, because you believed two bright, kind, sea-glass eyes when they looked deep into your blackened earth ones and said the things you never realized you'd needed so desperately to hear, things you'd been waiting your whole life to hear from someone who looked at you, finally saw you, as magic.
This love was real. This loss is real.
Even if I am only granted the space to grieve as I once loved ... in secret.