I watched a show recently where the main character, who has lost her entire family, is holding on to so much pain that she will seek out more pain if she ever starts to heal. She finally admits that she has been refusing to let go of the pain because it meant to her that she would no longer remember her husband, parents, and children who are all gone.
I completely understood her reasoning.
While I was mourning the loss of my mom, another person close to me started doing everything they could possibly do to die and give up at life, and wanted me to be there during their downward spiral. I was there as much as I could be and then chose to stop being there. As a result, I was mourning double. Every time I would catch myself in a moment of joy where I had totally forgotten about either of them for a moment, my brain would be like, "Hey, wait, don't forget about them and how much it hurts you and how much pain they went through."
And then it would be there through all of my joy. This big looming pain, that I knew I needed to carry, because if I let it go, they would disappear from my life. How could I love them and move on from them at the same time?
I am cleaning out so much from my life lately by jumping head first into the life of minimalism, and deliberate-ness. I plan to blog about that whole process soon, but it's still in process, so I'd rather wait until I have more concrete information on it. However, I will say this, one thing I've noticed is that once I got the ball rolling in cleaning out my life, everything just came out, and was ready to be examined and removed if it was holding me back. This is one of those things. It's time to put the pain down. Little by little, the more stuff I remove from my life, the more clarity I find mentally as well.
It is ok to let go of the people we have lost. It is ok to say to yourself, "That was awful, painful, and I'll always miss them, but I am here, and I deserve to put this pain down and walk away."
So, that is what I have been doing. Little by little, and then all at once. I still have moments where I look at a photo of either of them and feel my heart strings tug. Tears may fall. But, it is different now. I look at them and say, "I love you, forever, and you are gone." And then I go back to what I was doing, allowing the twinge of pain to dissipate.
What a ride grief, depression, pain, and healing are! The person that comes out of the journey is not the person that went in, nor should they be, because life has changed.
I truly hope that if you are stuck in the cycles of grief because you don't want to let your loved ones go, that you will realize, letting go of the pain, doesn't meant letting go of them. It means accepting that they are gone, and giving yourself more time to remember all the great times you had together. You don't need to feel pain to remember them. You can remember the love you had together instead. I promise they wouldn't want you suffering.
You deserve to walk away from the pain and live joyfully.