It’s tough when you are in the middle of grief. There’s a method to the madness that includes anger and denial and acceptance and bargaining and depression. It can be a visious cycle, downward spiral, and at times the “acceptance” stage can seem like an impossible uphill climb. Even for the most logical mind, the emotions can play tricks on your reality. I think that’s the costume of bargaining and he’s a stealthy trickster. I met bargaining for the first time about this time of year in 2016 and it mowed me down for a good 2+ months. Eventually the spiral goes back up (hopefully) and you start to climb the mountain of acceptance. That climb took me most of 2017. But what happens after that?
What happens after you have planted your flag somewhere safe on that mountain and can see you have left anger and depression and denial far below. From this vantage point the air is clear and you can see a long way. Take deep breaths, acceptance is sweet. You may be tempted to pitch a tent and stay at this location, relief from your pursuers is a wonderful feeling. However, I would contend that the journey is not over. I would propose there is another stage and unless you continue to climb, part of you will never be free from the grief. That stage is letting go.
Some may argue that acceptance and letting go are just two sides of the same coin, but I believe that they are completely separate. I believe this because I feel I accepted the circumstances from 2016 that left me lost and broken. I accepted the end of a five year relationship I once thought would last the rest of my life and I accepted the reality of the stress my job was placing on me and how it was affecting my health. I accepted my loneliness and my failures, but I realized recently that I really have not let go.
It seems that letting go is also a sneaky trickster. It’s master illusion is making you think you have already let go, that all is well. Then one day when you least expect it, the faces of grief show up again and you have to figure out how to deal with it. Sometimes you have to make a choice, and the choice may seem challenging. It might be crystal clear to those around you, but for some reason, your judgement is clouded. For me, this has manifested in the continued, however infrequent, communication with my ex. My forever love that lasted five years and then ended.
I’ve talked with several people about this and the unanimous consensus is that I should just let him know the door is closed and not to contact me anymore. Why my brain resists this course of action is somewhat a mystery. It’s the logical thing to do yet I still have a tiny voice telling me there is no harm in it and that I’m just being polite when I respond in a friendly way. It’s confusing. Why can’t I just let go?
It’s because letting go is always tough, and the human brain is complex and all those thoughts that creep in again and again make it almost impossible. I’m am happier now than I have ever been in my life. I have a fiancé and we are so in love and the future looks so amazing, why would I have any trouble telling Matt to stop contacting me. Why would I still feel responsible for any hurt he’s still experiencing? It’s because I’m a caring person and I don’t want anyone I ever loved to hurt. I recognize now, after hearing true voices of reason, that things are not what they seem. It’s the continued communication that’s actually hurting me and possibly him.
Rebecca said it best last week and it takes me time to process things but thinking about what she said after the fact makes sense. She said that the contact is hurting me and him and now potentially also Jim. It’s that last one that got through to me. I would never want to do that, ever. I have to cut it off and let go. I have to.
You see, I pitched my tent in a safe and wonderful space, but that’s not good enough. You have to keep moving. You can’t stay where you are ever because everything around you is also in motion. Every life is moving, swaying around the universe and if you stay still, things are going to change anyway. You have to move with life and that’s how you can let go. That means the letting go never really ends. It’s the stage of grief that continues for the rest of your life.
Every person is a collection of their experiences. Whatever that event was that rocked your world is a part of you and will always be. It’s death and new life and injury and love and loss. You just have to keep moving and that’s life.
Truth be told, this whole blog post has been one giant self-pep talk for me. I’ve come to conclusions about what it is I need to do, but needed a little extra help from my inner Miss SugarCookie to get the job done. Today is the day I cut the tie with Matt. I’m letting go. I’m a life in motion and moving forward.
Take a Deep Breath and Just Do It,