“Why? Why does what was beautiful suddenly shatter in hindsight because it concealed dark truths? Why does the memory of years of happy marriage turn to gall when our partner is revealed to have had a lover all those years? Because such a situation makes it impossible to be happy? But we were happy! Sometimes the memory of happiness cannot stay true because it ended unhappily. Because happiness is only real if it lasts forever? Because things always end painfully if they contained pain, conscious or unconscious, all along? But what is unconscious, unrecognized pain?”
An excerpt from The Reader by Bernhard Schlink.
I’ve always wondered about this.
I was the kind of person who would opt for dwelling on the hurt for a while and then forgetting it and moving on, even if it was at the cost of losing the associated happy memories. But what good does it did it do to me to look back and only be able to see the pain, to have that overshadow the pleasant past?
So, in the past few years, I’ve been trying to make conscious effort on my part to remember failed relationships (of any kind) for the joy that it gave me instead of focusing on the pain that broke the bond. It’s not easy, I must admit…but I try…every time I think of a person that used to be a part of my life, I make sure I go through pages of my mind that is filled with happiness that the person brought along. Even though the ache creeps in one way or the other, I’m learning not to let it affect me adversely.
I don’t know / can’t say if this is good or bad. But, personally for me, this works better. Because this way when a whiff of fragrance or a song or a rainy day or a book or a place triggers memories of people who’ve crossed the path of my life, I am left with smiles (maybe a tear or two will appear alongside), and not just darkness.