It’s hard not to romanticize what could have been in the wake of something you loved.
Sometimes they come out of nowhere – walking down the street and seeing something or someone that reminds you of them. Sometimes it’s a masochistic stroll down memory lane you just can’t steer out of. Sometimes you just want to feel the hurt to remember that it was real.
Whenever that familiar sad longing strikes I, almost angrily, force myself to remember a good time. Drum up just one pleasant memory, even if looking back on a good time is painful at the time. A laugh. A smile. A moment when you thought the world was in your hands and everything was going so, so right. Eventually the “could’ve been” wave washes back away from shore.
It’ll come back – it always does – but over time with less frequency. Eventually the moments will be so sparse you’ll welcome them as a friendly reminder of a past life, simple memories from once upon a time.
Of course it’s hard when things don’t work out how you hoped they would. They hurt even more when the final blow comes following a big high, and especially so when you have to watch someone else enjoy the happiness you were planning for. “That could’ve been us” is painful enough to think about, let alone watch in real time right in front of your eyes.
Game Seven, the World Series, and this entire season will be frequently visited in my mind as a wonderful ride that fell just a bit short of that happily ever after. But the future is bright, and believing that there are even better things on the horizon is helping to get through it.