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Mourning What Should Have Been

Updated on November 16, 2014

Mourning what should have been is something very normal.

A dear friend has turned me on to some wonderful music recently, and I am absolutely loving it. In doing so, they played a song for me, which I vaguely recall them posting on their Facebook feed a while back. The things my brain will and will not recall, just fascinates me sometimes, I apologize, I digress.

This song when I hit the play button to hear it previously, struck a chord so painful within me, I had to stop listening to it, which is something that is rarely done with me. I’m one of those that will listen to a song with an open mind before I decide whether I like it or dislike it. So when they personally played me the song, I gave it a listen because I didn’t want to be rude about it since they felt such passion for the song. I will admit it was all I could do to keep from crying. This time though there wasn’t the unbearable feeling of having my heart ripped out of my chest.

The song is called Poison and Wine by The Civil Wars. Written by Joy Williams, John Paul White and Chris Lindsey.

My view of the song is that it is about the struggle in a relationship that has run its course, and the viewpoints from the male and female perspective. But the one part they both agree upon is that even though they don’t love each other as a couple, but they will always love each other in a different way.

Beautifully and poignantly written

As a couple, hiding things is detrimental and undermines the very meaning of the word.

This view is emphasized in the first verse:

Male: You only know what I want you to

Female: I know everything you don’t want me to

Male: your mouth is poison, you mouth is a wine

Female: you think your dreams are the same as mine


Ooh, I don’t love you, but I always will

Ooh, I don’t love you, but I always will

I don’t love you but I always will

I always will

I relate to the above so much because my ex-husband would tell me only what he wanted me to know, but I always found out, because I knew him better than I knew myself. Our conversations have always been like an armed truce, even to this day. Sometimes they were pleasant and enjoyable like a wonderful wine, other times they were toxic and poisonous and very much full of abusive language. He never listened to what my dreams were, didn’t seem to care, because he felt that his dreams should be my dreams because I was his wife.

Endings are always hard, but they should be done with dignity and respect for the other person.

The second verse shows how love and pain can live simultaneously in a relationship:

Female: I wish you’d hold me when I turn my back

Male: The less I give, the more I get back

Female: ooh your hands can heal, your hands can bruise

Male: I don’t have choice but I still choose you


Ooh, I don’t love you, but I always will

Ooh, I don’t love you, but I always will

I don’t love you, but I always will

Ooh, I don’t love you but I always will

I would turn my back because of hurt when he would ignore what I said, pain when the truth was thrown at me meant to make me hurt, but yet I still wanted him to want to hold me and wrap his arms around me with love. I always give so much to those I love, that he took it for granted that I would do the least of thing for him and he made less and less of an effort as time went on.

It's okay to mourn, it's okay to feel sad.

Final chorus:

I don’t love you, but I always will

I don’t love you, but I always will

I don’t love you, but I always will

I always will, I always will, I always will

I always will, I always will

The ending of a relationship, and in my opinion especially in the case of a marriage, is similar to a death. Divorce is end of the hopes and dreams, the companionship that was promised to be there until death. You immediately go from being a “we” to an “I”. There is a major loss there, you go from having two incomes to trying to figure out how to balance on just one. If there are children involved, one parent becomes the primary care giver and the other is supposed to assist with the financial costs, but that doesn’t always happen.

Dreams don't always happen, and when they don't we need to find new dreams to pursue.

There is a buildup of resentment, hurt and anger towards the other person, all the while you are missing them being there, even when things were bad. The companionship is gone. You can feel isolated, alone, and that there isn’t anyone to turn to who would understand.

These feelings are completely normal. I with the help of my friend who introduced me to the song, that it’s okay to feel sad, even if the marriage wasn’t a good one, and it is better that it is over. Especially with the length of the relationship. I had to give myself permission to feel bad, even with all the hurt, anger and resentment that is there.

The saying is that the one who hurts you, is also the one that can heal you, but I don’t think that’s always the case. At the end of the day we need to find the strength to heal, forgive and most importantly, like and love ourselves. Learning to let go of the anger and hatred is the hardest thing to do, but it is the right thing to do. Not for the other person, but for ourselves. The other person is sleeping at night, while we are hating, hurting and resenting the situation.

I allowed myself to cry today over what was supposed to have been. I’m still sad, but I’m on my own timetable to find my own normal. I’m working it, and I know I’ve got this, and wonderful friends who help catch me when I stumble.


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