What no one ever told me about breaking up from an extremely serious relationship is that the conversation and pain of actually carrying out the action is hard but the aftermath is much worse than it seems.
Unfortunately for me, I shared a home with a particular boyfriend that I broke up with. We planned on getting married eventually. We ended badly. I threw my stuff into trash bags, and left. That was easy.
Unpacking was the hard part. A year later it all still isn't completely unpacked because it's too painful. There were frames that once held pictures of the both of us above the couch that we picked out, bought, and spent endless nights on together. There were sheets that still smelled like him and t-shirts of his that never made their way back to him.
Losing him was incredibly difficult. It took me months to get used to sleeping alone again. I'd roll over to reach for him and be hit with the reality that he was never going to be there again, and I would sob for hours. I'd see something funny and immediately reach for my phone to text it to him, but remembered. Falling out of habit and out of love was incredibly hard. I lost not only my love but also my best friend that day.
I had to meet up with him twice to exchange items the both of us found while sorting through things and it was excruciating. He said goodbye one last time to the dog we adopted together which was emotional for the both of us.
But the worst part of it all was losing his family. No one had ever prepared me for that. I was just at a wedding with them all the weekend before and we were face-swapping all of the grandparents on Snapchat with laughter and tears rolling down our faces. We never expected that this would happen. But it did.
Once they got news of the breakup they all offered me condolences and condemned my ex's actions. They told me I deserve much better and that they loved me. But that still didn't fix anything. I was losing them too and it was going to rock my world.
My ex and I moved across the city to be closer to them. We were literally walking distance from his parents' house and his grandma's house (who lived in the same neighborhood). We had dinner there at least 3 times a week and housesat for them multiple times. We all spent every holiday together for two years. We went on vacation together. I got to know each of them individually and for the first time in my life, I finally felt part of a stable family unit.
Losing them breaks my heart every day. They are each wonderful people. I won't get to see his little sister graduate high school with honors; something she worked incredibly hard for. I watched her grow from a teen to a brilliant young woman and watched her experience her first young love. I won't get to watch his mom inevitably get her doctorate degree when I watched her get her bachelor's. I can't sit on the couch with his grandma anymore and gab about the latest episode of Downton Abbey, or whatever else was on TV that we shared an interest in. Their whole (local) family even came into town to celebrate my birthday! They had food and cake and everything. I mean come on! They were incredible and I genuinely loved them so much.
As time goes by, the urge to tell them a story or share good news with them will lessen. But they will forever be in my heart and give me something to look forward to in the future. I am blessed to have been in their presence, and to have shared their experience.