So this is what it feels like to be a Time Lord.
Heart broken, unable to sustain life, there is no choice but to regenerate. The life that was is gone forever, it won’t be coming back any more than she will. The mind screams “I don’t want to go” but deep inside you know you are only trying to hold on to the empty air, the space she used to occupy.
The letting go is hard, nearly impossible. It’s the disconnect between holding on to the memory and holding on to the lost life. The memories must be kept, but the old self you must release. It’s torture either way, for the old self can bring no new joys, it is spent. All it has left is memory, there is no potential in it. Existence without growth is not life, it’s just an undead thing.
A last run of farewells, then on to the pain of accepting the death of the old self, along with the death of your love. It sucks in triplicate, for you’ve lost her, us, and you, all three forced into the past tense at once. You have to accept all of that, otherwise you’re not going anywhere. It’s painful, and most of all terrifying, but it must be borne if you’re ever to grow again.
How long will it last? Who knows? How long does it take to grow a new heart? How long does it take to integrate a shattered psyche? It’s all the things that torture adolescence, with a gigantic side order of grief. All I know is that the longer it is delayed by holding on to false hope that this is all a horrible nightmare, instead of acknowledging and accepting the terrible reality, the longer it will be before the transformation can even start.
In the end, if you navigate the transformation, if you don’t screw it up, a miracle awaits.
This old broken heart will never love another. I gave it to her, and scarred as it is, it will always be hers, even in her absence. That loss is permanently a part of me, and it will never shrink. The memories, though, will endure and sustain the new self. The old heart can do that much and no more.
But there is another feature we human Time Lords, created by grief, share with of those from Gallifrey, and it’s the reason the pain of regeneration is worth enduring:
A Time Lord has two hearts. And that second one, feeble and newborn, can slowly grow and change, and begin a new life.