Learning how to love from a distance. It’s hard.

When I decided to focus on myself because the pain was too immense when I was around Z, I didn’t know if I was making the biggest mistake of my life. I felt like I was abandoning him. I felt like I was ruining something special, but something was calling me to leave. Maybe it was the pain; maybe it was something else, I just knew that I couldn’t stay.

It was painful after the fact, not being able to see him. I felt a void. For a while, he was the only reason why I was doing anything in my life. I wanted to provide for him, I wanted to be better for him, and now that I was on my own, I had lost who I was.

Part of me still wanted to be better for him; maybe if I had figured out myself and healed, I could come back and be a better father figure for him in the future.

All of these were hypotheticals, the only thing I knew for sure at that moment was that he was gone. He wasn’t coming back.

I was out of contact with him for almost two years, and I felt utterly empty. What I realized was, it wasn’t even because he wasn’t in my life anymore, it’s that I couldn’t show him love anymore. I couldn’t pick him up, throw him in the air and make him laugh; I couldn’t buy him gifts, I couldn’t say hello, I lost that privilege after I said goodbye. There was nothing I could do.

That’s what I thought anyway because I felt that, what I winded up doing was becoming numb towards the situation. I shut off the love I had towards him because I felt guilty for loving him. If I loved him, why didn’t I stay? It made me wonder if I did love him or not. It made me feel guilty. Shutting down that love was the one way I could deal with the guilt.

That’s what I did for a portion of the two years that I didn’t see him. Until I realized that cutting off the love I had towards him, was cutting the love off I had towards myself and everyone else.

When we turn our love off towards anything, we cut it off towards everything.

I learned that loving from a distance is vitally important. There are going to be times in our lives where those that we love are far away from us, and we can’t get in contact with them whiter. Through death, incarceration, and many other circumstances. It’s crucial that we don’t turn off our love because of the pain that arises from those situations. If we do, we won’t be able to love anything.

The love I felt towards Z, when I turned it back on, allowed me to heal. It allowed me to confront so many things that I did wrong, so many wrongs that were done to me, and heal from them. It allowed me to apologize. It allowed me to move forward.

Now, me and Z’s mom have a good relationship, I see him now and then, but my love for him never changes.

Being estranged from him was painful, but it was a necessary journey I had to go through in my life, and it’s made me a better son, friend, partner, and person.

The walks we go through in life always happen for a reason, even if you can’t see it in the moment. Trust your intuition and remember to love yourself along the way.