One year ago, my first relationship ended. We always knew he would move away—off to some naval base somewhere. We had an expiration date. What we didn’t know was how our feelings would play into this relationship; How he would love me and I would turn him away, citing reasons and rational excuses, only to end up falling in love with him anyway.

But love wouldn’t stop him from moving and he ended up believing all my excuses that any future together was unrealistic. And even if I did move with him, he would never be there. Deployments, schools, training programs and work take up most of his time. He wouldn’t really be mine. It wouldn’t be the same.

“You’d be miserable,” he’d say. “I ­don’t want to be the cause of your unhappiness.”

But I’m unhappy anyway.

“Physically alone and fully alone aren’t the same thing,” I’d respond.

There was no changing it though. Either way, we’d still be here. 

As Philippe Aries says in his work on death in the western world, “A single person is missing for you and the whole world is empty, but one no longer has the right to say so aloud.” Joan Didion also writes how we are allowed to grieve for the loss of a person, but not for long. I have found in what seems like too little time has passed, people start to ask “still?” I just can’t help answering, “Always.”