At this point in my life, I feel pretty well-acquainted with grief. I've experienced it in different ways, in different times in my life, as different versions of myself. It's almost like an old frenemy that I begrudgingly let back into my home, again and again.

In this season of my life, as I grieve the ending of a very significant romantic connection, I remember how cyclical grief is, just like in nature. Just when I've found some relief and reach what I hope is the end of the sadness and sorrow, it starts over again. It's fucking uncomfortable. It's unrelenting. It's heavy. When I'm in it, I desperately want to fast forward to the part where I feel better.

The grief I've experienced has had different flavors. Grieving the death of a person is obviously different than grieving the death of a relationship, but there are some common themes.

In grieving this particular ending in my life, I'm not just grieving the loss of a person and relationship.

I'm grieving what was my reality. A certain lifestyle, an open pathway of communication, a profound, shared experience. Every day felt like a new, exciting adventure.

I'm grieving the loss of a potential future. Dreams of what life could've been with someone I care about. The places we could've traveled together, the memories we could've created, the things we could've built, the mutual growth we would've experienced. The life we could've had together.

I'm grieving the loss of the past. Although brief, we had started to build a foundation and loving container to heal, explore and grow together. A place and a state of mind where I got to know myself better, with all of my best and worst traits reflected back to me. A place that felt soft, comfortable, and safe to be myself.

Sometimes I feel nothing. Sometimes I feel detached; like it was all a dream and I'm just waking up from it. And sometimes, I feel raw and tender and overwhelmed with sadness. But regardless of the pain, I feel proud because in the end, I chose myself. I feel love for this season of my life, because it has and will continue to transform me.

I feel gratitude for this experience.

For this person that magically dropped into my life, taught me so much, and shook me to my core.

For the beautiful, joyful, fun experiences we shared.

For the endless lessons and realizations I've had about myself through it all.

For the heartbreak - because it broke me wide open.

For the opportunity to be stripped down and reborn; to evolve into a more refined version of myself.

For the new path that is now opening up before me.

For the knowing that this breaking open is exactly what I needed to propel me into the next season of my life, where new people, places and experiences are waiting for me.

For knowing that I am exactly where I need to be, even when I feel like shit.

It hurts so good.

This visceral pain shows me that I'm alive.

It shows me what it truly is to be a human.

To have a heart.

To feel all the emotions, sometimes all at once.

To hold it all inside me.

To feel contradicting things and exist as a paradox.

How beautiful it is to experience love.

To love someone, to be loved by someone, to survive the aftermath of it all.

It's exhilarating and intense and renders me completely vulnerable and exposed.

I'm so thankful for it - even though it sucks.

It's all serving me - growing me - stretching me - expanding me.

One day I'll look back at this moment and understand why it had to unfold the way it did.

So for now, I will embrace the mystery and uncertainty of it all, and rest in my grief and gratitude.