Everyone that has been in a failed relationship has a ritual to what happens with the leftover remnants of that life. Some give all the presents and pictures back to the giver, others tuck everything safely into a designated box to be hidden from sight and some (like myself) get rid of it all. Whether it be burning pictures, or donating old sweatshirts, I just want the reminders gone. As I grow older there is one thing I decided to never part with again, love letters.
Love letters are becoming more and more like the spotted owl, beautiful and extinct. Sure, we get sweet texts and nice emails, but the physical token of your significant other’s feelings spread out for someone to read is an almost an unbearable reminder of broken love. Some of the letters have been read so often that they are memorized. No matter how many times you memorize the words you will never train yourself to not feel the gut-wrenching, raw emotional pain of the past. Love letters are the doorways to a previous time. It shows what was going on in life at the moment and how you full heartedly believed love would concur all. It is an unbearable pain that most of us can’t forget. These letters show generosity. It illustrates how you have been adored and that person took the time out of their life to write it down so you would always know. This unbridled emotion is excruciating later down the road. That is why I must keep them. Not for torture, but as a reminder of how I once felt so deeply about someone.
When I look back to my first heartbreak, I was distraught. I couldn’t eat, sleep, function, I felt broken. I was 16 and had no reservations about loving him. I did not think how my future could be with him, what kind of father he would be, and would he be able to provide a happy life with me. No, I loved recklessly with all I had. Once I got over the trauma and healed, I healed with cracks in my heart. I loved again yes, but it was different. The more my heart broke the less I felt the damage. I adapted and did not love uncontrolled like my first time ever again. I know as I grow older this sad truth of survival will only become more true. That’s why I have to keep my love letters. They are proof of the dying emotions that I once had. Nothing I ever write for the rest of my life will be as true as my past love letters.
As I close the book on another relationship, I do so knowing I will never love the way I did again. Not because I won’t find another, but because I will have more emotional walls built up inside me not allowing me to get to the part of my heart that is tender from loss. It is important to keep the reminders of this passion because discarding them makes them lost forever. As bad as the pain is, I rather feel that then nothing at all.