I need to let go of the illusion that it could have been any different. Any of it, really.
I couldn’t have saved her. Cancer isn’t something you can just hope away. No matter what I did, nothing could’ve changed the terminal diagnosis hanging over her head. Not three thousand glasses of lemon water, not every warm blanket, not saying “I love you” so many times that those became the only words I knew, not silently crying an ocean for her to drift away on. Nothing. I can’t seem to comprehend that, though. It’s been almost 5 damn years and the thoughts of fault still haunt me, eating me alive. What if I had asked her to go get checked? What if I had been able to drive? What if I had known more about the science of it? What if I did one thing differently? Could I have saved her? Could I have given her a few more years? Months? Anything? Every sensical part of me knows I couldn’t have done anything…but what if I could have? I’m not sure anything will ever be able to silence those questions.
I couldn’t have stopped him leaving. If he wanted to stay, he would have. It’s that simple. It’s not some frivolous metaphor or watercolored image of silhouettes; I wasn’t enough for him anymore. Maybe I was at one point. I was the the moon and all my freckles created constellations but eventually, the moon falls and constellations become nothing but dust, light that once was. It seems the sun came up and he found himself chasing after brighter, more beautiful things instead. I couldn’t have stopped him from running after that light, that feeling of warmth drenching your skin after months of feeling frozen. He saw all the life that the sun gives and couldn’t resist, but who could? I couldn’t have shaded his eyes from that, and if I had, it only would’ve been criminal. He was bound to follow the sun eventually and maybe I just sped up the process, but I never could’ve stopped it from happening.
I could never have made them listen. People believe what they want, even if they know it isn’t the truth. There isn’t baggage or responsibility in gossip; only petty entertainment at the expense of another. When people heard calumny after calumny, echoing and chasing one another, the image of some alternative me became personified and real in their minds. I no longer belonged to myself, despite how many times I walked away or shut it down, and when your name is floating in the cheeks of others, you can’t exactly pull it out. You must wait until they’ve spit it on the ground for the final time to reclaim what is left of what once was.
I need to allow myself to let go of these things. While there are some aspects of life that you must take ownership of, there are some that are simply out of one’s control. These happen to represent the latter, and I, of course, always find a way to lay the blame in my hands. It’s time I loosen my grip and breathe a little easier. Life isn’t entirely composed of blame; there are lessons and hidden opportunities for growth in every step taken, and I will soon find myself walking among the mountains.