Unless your end comes in the form of being with a lot of living people who all suddenly die at the same time, or within several hours of your death, you are going to die alone. Let's get that out there first.
Your view on death may differ from my own. My truth of what death is was informed when I was in the Eighth Grade. My Uncle got himself shot to death at a Police Station; he gave the cops no choice. I was sad. My mind, my subconscious, tried to help me understand the loss and what it meant. I had a dream that I was with my Uncle, at the local mini mart, I asked him What's it like? Death? My Uncle, in my dream, didn't even pause while he was shuffling through cans of soup; he didn't even look at me as he replied It's cold. It's dark. It's nothing. I woke up, and I wasn't sad anymore, I felt like I knew what was what and that I could go on with life, which consisted of attending school and delivering newspapers for my paper route, and seeing my family come to terms with a tragic loss.
I recently got out of a relationship. It wasn't too long—a little over a year, in fact. I put a lot of effort into it, and if I'm honest, I still have a lot of “sour grape” feelings about the whole thing. I wanted my next relationship to be something deeper, something lasting, something that might be a “unicorn relationship.” You know what those are, don't you? The type of relationship where you don't feel anchored and bound to one another, where you can go about and do your thing and then come home and enjoy one another. No jealousy, no anxiety, you just get to be who you are and do what you like. You have a mutual trust, you're both driven to pursue your interests and passions; you support each other, offering encouragement Boo, you got this! You are going to do so great!
That's all great, but we're human. We are faulty as a default, and thus we succumb to the tedium of being human. What that means to me is that I often blur reality, perhaps so much that I am blind to it. I know that I don't want to die alone.
I'm afraid of the cold dark nothingness that I believe awaits me—awaits us all.
I'm afraid that few will care if I go, I'm afraid that hearts will not bleed when I'm gone, and I ultimately fear that know one will care that I am afraid of the end point that nears with each second.
I know there are other perspectives on this, but I don't fucking care about them. I care about mine. So, what if I die alone? What if I grow old and bitter with no one to receive my wrath?
You are going to die alone, and it's your death sentence
I tell myself that it's okay. I don't really believe it. Not yet. I wonder what people think about when death is coming. Do they think about repenting? Do they wish they were better at something or other? Do they wish they took more trips? Death is coming, you cannot do everything, but you can do some things. And you should do those things.
I often wonder what my ex is doing. Is she reading or writing? Is she riding her bike to school to grade papers? Are her teacup breasts dripping from sweat as she fucks her new lover? I never assume or believe she's sad about our breakup; I never assume she thinks about me. She, too, was afraid of dying alone. Not so much that she would choose to stay in a relationship that she's not happy being in. There's a lesson in that.
Life is too short—whatever your perspective on time is, it's either a long time or it's all just a blink and then poof! It's gone. Life is too short to spend it on half-measures, half-loves, and never wills. I know this is my truth. I know that being alone is, right now, a good thing. My brain knows this truth; it's drunk in that truth; my heart hasn't gotten the notice, sent it to spam it did.
Happiness, our perspective, how we move on from loss is as much of a choice as it is an engrained part of how we live life. Put another way it's easy to become, and stay, angry when a relationship comes to an end. Often, we are left trying to fumble through the meaning of it all.
Perhaps it begins with anger and finger-pointing, then we move on to self-pity, we then try to find meaning. What meaning? You spend a year of your life, or more, on a thing, and that thing goes kaboom! And then what? Was it all a waste? All of your experiences, all of your memories, turn into these quick slideshows, showing bits and parts of the life you used to share with someone. The images fly by; you make out one image here and there, and it transports you to a time and place—more importantly, a feeling. The timestamp of love, quickly followed by the heaviness of loss.
That heaviness changes over time, it never gets less heavy, it just fades in with the rest of the emotional clutter that gets stored up. Eventually, you may forget it all until one day, you go looking for something and instead find your past love. Finding it might make you curl a smile, maybe you get sad or sentimental—if you're lucky you can look back on it and realize how much you've grown.
Choose your adventure
The choice to move forward and embrace being alone isn't easy. What lessons you decide to carry with you is up to you. Whether or not you treat your next lover like your previous lovers is also up to you. Will you trust them the same way? Will you hold back your enthusiasm? Will you downplay the significance of your new connection? Those are choices. We all make them. You see it all the time, especially when you talk to your friends, catching up, and they tell you about their new lover. They're filled with hope, excitement, and fuck lust. It's cute, perhaps annoying, but you're happy for them. You want to feel that, too. Maybe or friend says Oh yeah, he's such a cool guy! He's understanding and fucking funny. But, you know, I dunno. I just can't do a relationship right now. In some form or other, you've said this, or you've heard this. It's sad.
It's sad because hurt and loss are so powerful, and we build mechanisms to protect ourselves. Well, I do anyway. But at least I'm aware of that, and I can make a choice.
I'm not ready to date yet, but I am ready to open up, and I'm going to choose to dive in again.
What I can take from my last relationship is that I blindly wanted things to work just because I didn't want to be alone—to die alone. I was going to make this thing work, I was going to be supportive, and I was going to put this person ahead of me. I did that, and it still failed. It didn't fail because of the good things I did. It failed because life is too short to spend in a relationship that doesn't make you happy. My ex-wasn't happy, my ex-has a lot of things to work through, and that's okay. She needs to pursue her thing, whatever that thing is.
I'm going to die alone… So what? Go out and live your goddamn life.
Photo Cred: Tony Webster