No one told me that hearing words like, “He doesn’t deserve you,” wouldn’t help. Because I know they’re wrong, beyond a shadow of a doubt. No one told me that those words would actually hurt more for inexplicable reasons. No one told me that it would be easier to be mad at someone than to not have a single reason to hate them. Because no matter what else I’m feeling, hate and anger are not among my emotions. Unless you count the anger towards myself, which stings in a very visceral way. No one told me that hearing the words, “I thought you were going to get married,” and “You were perfect for each other,” wouldn’t help. Because I thought those thoughts too once. No one told me that I would feel the weight of disappointment from every person who had ever hoped for our marriage, and it would sit on my shoulders and mock me. No one told me that the answer to the question “What happened?” would be different every time, because there are some things that don’t fit nicely into words.

No one told me that being in my own room could be a source of pain, that the littlest things would serve as huge reminders. No one warned me how much effort it would take to tell myself to keep certain gifts because they were inherently meaningful, but they just so happened to come from him. No one told me how much it was possible for inanimate objects to be so steeped in memories that it was almost palpable. I never knew how much effort it would take to remember the happiness contained in those memories, and to not let them fall away into the abyss of sadness. I never knew how much it would feel like packing up and moving away. Each memory must be recalled, carefully protected and wrapped in bubble wrap, and tucked far away in some corner of my consciousness where I wouldn’t find it until I went looking for it. No one told me how mentally exhausting that would be.

I never knew that the tears I saw in movies, the big, fat teardrops that rolled down one’s cheeks and splashed onto surfaces below, could actually exist. I never knew that those tears could physically hurt. I’d read those words in books; I’d read about hot, stinging tears. I thought it was beautiful writing. I didn’t know it could be true. I didn’t know that my entire body could ache, that my legs would shake as I walked down the stairs, or that my chest would feel like it was holding that blanket they place on your body before an x-ray. I didn’t realize that those feelings would linger far beyond their welcome.

People will always tell you not to hate yourself, not to blame yourself. “Don’t beat yourself up,” they say. “It’s not your fault.” We live in a society that likes to be blameless, and they will do anything to place the blame on other people. But there is a value in accepting blame where it is due. And so hearing those words “It’s not your fault,” hurt far more than I expected them to. Because I know they’re wrong too. I know I can’t accept all the blame, I know it must be equally distributed. I am still the same logical person, trying to use reason to trudge through emotional waste. But some of the blame does belong to me, and I accept that. No one told me that it would actually hurt more to place all the blame on him, because I know he doesn’t deserve that punishment. I know it’s not his fault. And I know that he is accepting all of the blame anyway, and that hurts more than I could have imagined.

No one told me that hearing the words, “If he truly loves you, he’ll come back,” would hurt worst of all. Because they’re not true. Life doesn’t work that way. Truthfully, I know he loves me because he let me go. It’s the very fact that I know he loves me, and that I love him, which makes everything unbearable. Is it possible that somehow, years from now, our lives will collide in such a way that we will be together again? It’s conceivable. But thoughts like that are no comfort, because life continues moving forward. And so must we.