I've (re)learned this lesson recently. And like most life lessons, it wasn't terribly pleasant. Fairly painful, in fact.
And not just change their looks, their habits, their lifestyles...
People change right to their very core.
Everything (you thought) you knew about someone, every single piece of their being, however intimately and completely, can all change. So drastically, that they become an entirely new person all together.
And in many cases (such as this), the change is not favorable. It's not progress or evolving. It's not a positive change. For you, or for them.
They wouldn't recognize it, though, because they've changed. They don't see this odd and unusual person they've become.
Or maybe they do.
But because they've changed so drastically, they simply don't care.
And as luck would have it, the people who change are the people you have loved, sometimes for years, your whole life.
Perhaps the person you held dearest to you, in the highest regard, closest to your soul, they change.
And all of a sudden, you are left holding a love for someone who doesn't even exist anymore.
So, what do you do with it?
Let go, move on, all the things people normally do when they lose someone close to them.
But it's not the same. It's more complicated and difficult than the typical letting go.
Because you know that person existed once. And human nature curses you with hope (Hope is an evil thing). The hope that that person will suddenly reappear. The hope that the person with whom you shared an indescribable bond, isn't totally lost.
But they are. You know this to be true.
So you tuck away your love, into a tiny corner. You shut it away, in hopes that it will change too one day.
That it will turn into something less powerful, less consuming. Into something meaningless. A vague memory that doesn't elicit any feeling at all.
Slowly, but eventually, you wait for it to change.
And hope that one day, finally, it doesn't exist, right along with the person you once knew.