It would have been my son’s fourth birthday last Sunday and it made me think a lot about loss. His absence will always perplex me, but I realised I’ve stopped looking for answers to the seemingly unanswerable questions and I’m more focussed on looking for and feeling his beautiful presence.
When I’m having a rough time, I imagine him the age that he would be now, walking ahead of me as I make my way down the street. I can see the back of his gloriously golden head, with an appropriately sized set of wings on his back, clearing the path so I can confidently follow. That image alone fills me with such pride, knowing that my little cherub is a powerful and present ally.
Of course, it’s taken me a very long time to get to that place and I haven’t always been able to apply the same acceptance to all situations. I slipped up once when faced with a friendship fatality and spiralled into a nasty head space out of grief and hurt.
I know it sucks when someone leaves, when we’re forced from a situation that we thought would last forever, but it helps to believe in a greater design, if only to save our sanity, and to look for beauty even in our toughest breaks.
Instead of trying to accept having loved and lost, I internalised all of the pain and hurt. Then I quickly discovered that self-injury, through a repeated dreadful thought pattern, is terribly unnecessary.
My blatant refusal to rein in my ugly thoughts created a black hole so wide, I only had to sneeze and I ended up in it. The giant hole of despair welcomed me with open arms because I’d been there before, had secured the address, and just had to walk in the door and find a comfy seat.
It’s so cruel to focus all the blame and pain on yourself when things fall apart, and yet it can be easily done. It’s like hanging out with a scary shadow that wants you to drown and is practically holding you underwater with their little finger. When you’re forced to face the dark villain, you can be shocked to find out it was just you all along.
I realised that I can only control so much. Mainly what goes on in my own mind, and also the amount of chocolate I should consume which had blown out immensely. I had to work hard to find my usually ever present calm, because I wanted restoration and peace, and to not end up in a loony bin with a waistline that required elastic and not buttons.
We can never go back and reclaim what was, what is severed must be released. If you can learn to detatch from your thoughts, then watch them swimming around your head like lions circling a poor injured gazelle, you can begin to shine a little light on the darkness.
We need to show ourselves mercy in times of trouble and not create more heartache by punishing ourselves with belittling thoughts. Instead of focusing on all the anger and hurt and ugliness, and allowing it to fully creep into our being, set up shop, and then let it serve us shit sandwiches and charge exorbitant prices, we need to learn to love ourselves even more.
If I could go back and change anything when I’ve been faced with someone leaving, it would be to say to them that no matter what prevails, my heart is always turned toward them and that their peace and happiness and the unique connection we shared in this world means everything. I understand that they can no longer stay, and so I release them with all my love, knowing that what we shared can never truly be lost.
When we can arrive at a place where we can accept that what was severed was for a loving purpose, designed to expand us and not harm us, we can begin the process of moving forward. But if we are continuously turned longingly in the direction of what was, then can miss tuning into the beauty that is available to us right now. We need to embrace sitting in the discomfort between what was and what might be arriving for us and learn to hang in that space with confidence, knowing that only the best for us is on its way.
The love that has been uniquely gifted from another can never be lost. Give yourself permission to own that love. Let it engulf you so strongly that it lifts you to a place of pure joy. Instead of slipping into fear about what has gone, think about what remains. Let all that love carry you through your days, strengthen you and lift you up. We may have been hurt, but we bravely gave our hearts and took a chance on love. That in itself is incredible. Wear your scars with honour knowing you loved the absolute pants off of someone and carry their love like your most precious gift.