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Lions Roar : September 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2011 47 IT WAS THE TOOTHBRUSH that told me. Alone and overlooked in the emptied medicine chest, it was one of the few things my departed lover had left behind. When I found it, I knew with certainty something I’d been denying for some time. It was over. In truth, our relationship had been over for longer than I’d wanted to believe, but in beginnings and endings, one party can lag behind the other on the uptake. If the toothbrush was my messenger, what was his? Perhaps the time I kicked his suitcase to the curb? For years after the breakup, I would forget that part in the telling of the story. Everyone, after all, tells stories their own way, from their own perspective. Whether by choice or circumstance, by the fleet seasons of romance or the final curtain of death, love ends. At least the love that is a story ends. And when that happens, what are we left with? A passage we might otherwise never have dared to take—a passage through denial, disbelief, and despair, through rage and madness. A portal, beyond delusive fairy- tales and melodrama, into a state of wakeful grace that is true love. True love is what is left behind when the story of love ends. But it only looks like the end. Make it through one ending, and you might change your mind about all endings. That is the miracle cure, the ultimate heal- ing, which is left behind on an empty shelf. Breaking Up PHOTOS BY LIZA MATTHEWS Waking Up Alone Everything changes; nothing lasts. In matters of the heart this can be a hard truth to wake up to. KAREN MAEZEN MILLER on what to do after the love story ends.