Forgetting is a Word that the Heart Does Not Understand

· July 19, 2016

When your love for someone is true, it leaves a lasting mark; a memory that will always be rooted to experiences and feelings, one that is impossible to forget.

Our perception of what love has endured is always subjective. It probably won’t seem like much to us, because we enjoy it more often than not, and because its intensity traps us like a drug that turns us into addicts.

The ecstasy that love brings makes everything seem wonderful; life is more colorful and seems to be filled with happiness and momentum. In this graceful state, neither distance nor limits exist, and everything is magical.

In the event of heartbreak, we think that forgetting will be the solution to moving forward, to ending the constant suffering. However, we can’t control what we forget and what we don’t.

As Pablo Neruda captured so well in his “Poem Number 20,” from the book Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, which reflects his inability to forget: “I don’t love her anymore, it’s true, but maybe I do love her. Love is so short, and forgetting is so long.”

rose on the ground

Pablo Neruda’s poem

This beautiful poem by Pablo Neruda brilliantly recounts the difficulty and pain that you experience when you try to forget about someone you love.

“I can write the saddest verses tonight.
Write, for example: “The night is starry,
and the blue planets shimmer in the distance.”

The nighttime wind whirls around in the sky and sings.

I can write the saddest verses tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me, too.

On nights like these I had her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times under the infinite sky.

She loved me, and sometimes I loved her, too.
How could I not have loved her big, staring eyes?

I can write the saddest verses tonight.
Think about how I don’t have her. Feel like I’ve lost her.

Listen to the enormous night, even more enormous without her.
And the verse falls to my soul like dew on the grass.

What does it matter that my love couldn’t be saved?
The night is starry and she is not with me.

That’s all. In the distance, somebody is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not content now that I’ve lost her.

As though to bring her back, my eyes search for her.
My heart searches for her, and she is not with me.

The same night that the same trees turned white.
We, the ones from before, were not the same anymore.

I don’t love her anymore, it’s true, but how much I loved her.
My voice rode with the wind to reach her ears.

Someone else. She’ll be with someone else. Like she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her distinct body. Her infinite eyes.

I don’t love her anymore, it’s true, but maybe I do love her.
Love is so short, and forgetting is so long.

Because on nights like these I had her in my arms,
My soul is not content now that I’ve lost her.

But this will be the last pain that she causes me,
And these will be the last verses that I write about her.”

We become infused with the memories that love leaves us with. Neither time, nor anger, nor distress, nor being with someone else, can make us forget them.

In fact, trying to be with someone else as soon as possible in order to forget the other person happens frequently, but it doesn’t usually bring about good results. Because we’re only deceiving ourselves and that person.

children under a heart tree

Forgetting is not the solution

Moving on with our lives after what happened does not mean we have to forget everything we’ve experienced. It’s more about accepting that every period of our lives leaves us with things that we can’t get back.

The only thing that truly exists is the present, and there lies the solution, depending on the perspective we take. From the past, we can draw upon things that help us with our present situation and integrate the two.

No experience, whether good or bad, can be changed, so therefore we have the opportunity to learn as much as we can from them and integrate them into each new experience.

In love, when we go through a bad stage that we try to forget, we have the opportunity to get to know ourselves more deeply, to avoid repeating the same mistakes, with the same feelings that went unresolved.