It Had to Happen This Way

Thank You (Photo credit: thoughtfulbeliever)

Recently I came across an old email from the man I once believed was the love my life…my soulmate. I wasn’t looking for it. I was searching for something else. I thought for a moment about not opening it. Just going on my way. But it had been a while. And I was curious. You know how that goes.

His words were so sweet. My heart softened as I read them. It was from the beginning of our relationship, a time so full of hope and promise. A time when we both believed we would be together forever. A time when we thought we had found that ever-elusive fairytale in our love for one another.

Some would argue (and have) that I should delete those emails so I won’t be reminded of the pain I felt when that relationship suddenly ended. I see their point. No one wants to feel bad. But I look at it differently. Just because the relationship ended doesn’t mean I have to close the door on those feelings. Love isn’t so black and white. And sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly low, it’s nice to be reminded that someone loved me that much. If only for a short time.

It’s been two years today since he broke my heart. I’m not focusing on it, but it’s there…lurking around in the back of my mind. The anniversaries of significant life events are hard to shake. Maybe you’re not supposed to. Daphne Rose Kingma wrote in her book, Coming Apart, “Next to the death of a loved one, the ending of a relationship is the single most emotionally painful experience that any of us ever goes through.” I can attest to that.

Sometimes I’m still angry with him. He handled it so poorly. But in his defense, there was really no way he could have ended things that I would’ve agreed with. I didn’t want it to end. And yet, there are moments now I feel I should thank him. When I lost the thing I thought was most important to me, when I no longer had someone to focus my attention on, I was forced to focus on me.

So much has changed in the last two years. I’ve taken risks and challenged myself in ways I previously hadn’t though possible. I’ve realized I have a calling as a writer. This blog is a direct result of experiencing something so painful I felt my whole world was falling apart. I am also completing a course to become a life coach. A course I had no idea when I signed up how I would pay for. I’m leaving my current job to find more fulfilling work. I’m still scared all the time, but now I don’t let that stop me. Life is short. What you think will last forever can be gone in an instant.

I still feel sadness from time to time. And I often miss having him in my life. It hasn’t been easy, but I know it had to happen this way. Though I would not have chosen this path, I am grateful for where it has led me–and for the person I continue to become.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. John Hittler
    Sep 03, 2012 @ 11:55:03


    Thanks for sharing so authentically. My guess is that many have been in this position, and you are willing to lead all of us through.

    Totally fearless leadership.



  2. Shari
    Sep 03, 2012 @ 14:00:17

    I applaud and thank you. It is truly an honor to witness the beautiful unfolding of the masterpiece, that is the essence of you, in your writings as you continue on a deeply courageous path that can only result in healing and joyous creation. Healing that, I believe, has been in such core parts of your being, woven over a lifetime and unpinned in a few short years. Astounding is your capacity for growth and light, that’s all I can say. I love who you are, were and who you are becoming. I love seeing you own the starlight that you are.


    • Shannon McDonough
      Sep 04, 2012 @ 07:27:26


      Thank you for your beautiful words. It has been a long and sometimes painful journey. But one that has changed me in so many ways. As I grow and learn, stumble and fall, I plan to continue to share this path with others. I’m so blessed you have been a part of it.

      Much love,


  3. bri
    Sep 04, 2012 @ 13:42:42

    it’s so funny that you should write about this experience. just last week i stumbled across a letter that moses had written me in 2009. he was leaving for india to visit his family for 2 weeks. it was the first time we had spent any significant amount of time apart. the hope and power in the words that he wrote down to me was so strong. it was a very bittersweet moment. i smiled and fought back tears, even as i decided whether to read it or not. i knew the very second that i saw it what it was. i had hidden it there, safe and sound. i cry often and wonder what will be on the other side of all of the pain. you being strong and courageous enought to bare your soul to us gives me a little bit of faith that i’ll be alright. thank you!


    • Shannon McDonough
      Sep 04, 2012 @ 17:33:20

      I still cry sometimes too Bri. It’s hard and it hurts and I miss him. But I can also see that even through all the pain, something amazing has come out of this. I would not be the person I am today without this experience. And who knows…maybe someday I’ll be able to thank him for this gift he gave me. In the meantime, I just keep moving forward. I still have my ups and downs. I think that’s a part of life. So let yourself cry when you need to. Because that’s how you move through the pain. You have to feel it. Just know that wherever you are in this journey is exactly where you’re supposed to be. Love you!


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