"'Tis better to have loved and lost" is what they say. But I doubt the originator of that saying actually had the type of love that is only possible through a lengthy distance relationship that comes about through lengthy frequent conversations.
The "Criminal Minds" episode a few weeks back was the culmination of a side story that had been building for several episodes around just such a love -- the type that I had with someone a while ago. The end of that episode brought back some (most) of the feelings from just over a year ago from my own life. And, in a strange (and potentially morbid) way, offered up an alternate ending to my own tragically lost love. That being that she didn't mysteriously leave without so much as an "it's over" only for me to learn she basically lied about everything. Instead I'm looking at it as that she died in one of those hospitals in one of those far away cities she claimed to be in without having me listed as an emergency contact so I'm left without even the cold metal plaque on the side of a cremation urn to lean against and wish her here once more.
Does this change things for me? No, not really. I'm still getting on with my life. The pain subsides a little more with each passing day. Although I do stumble backwards from time-to-time with various unexpected reminders popping up in my life that reopen the barely freshly healed scars.
What is being left behind, however, is not the hurt, anger, or sadness, but the joy of the memories of those times spent together doing what we loved to do.
So... perhaps even lost love can, ultimately, still bring about an occasional smile when memories from a time long ago float back to the surface as the ropes tying them to the stones holding them underwater begin to age and break.
Still, I maintain that my life -- and the character in "Criminal Minds" -- would've been better if love had never been found. The small amount of warmth found now will never make up for those months and years of pain. Nothing can.
Gone is gone -- whether it is from a conscious decision of someone to walk out or from an unexpected death -- the pain, and the emptiness, is the same.
So... as "Agent K" (movie "Men In Black") said in response to being told "You know what they say, 'tis better to've loved and lost": "Try it!".
My only hope is that she never again walks back into my life one day. Ghosts should leave the living (and especially the grieving) alone.