One of my favorite books series has a quote: “Death is lighter than a feather, but Duty is heavier than a mountain.”*
But what of grief, loss, or betrayal? What about rage, fury, and madness? What about the memories that still have the power to hurt, even years later? How heavy are they?
Letting go is not easy. Our ability to let go of something is inversely proportional to its meaning in our lives. The more we cherish something, the harder it is to let go.
But we must let go – we cannot carry around old memories like a home-made necklace of scars. The weight of them all will break us in time. We have to let go – not just for the people and things that have come into our lives since then, but also for ourselves and for the futures we wish to create on the other side of intense feelings.
I have made mistakes, and I carry the scars of those poor choices. I made jewelry out of that pain and wore it every day. I wove the pain of those choices into garments, and wore them years past the day I outgrew them. I swallowed anger like a stone, and ate meal after heavy meal of heavy fare. But how was that fair to me?
I want to create a new life for myself. I want to live in the sun, beyond the shadows of my past. I want love, and happiness, and a bright future to look forward to. But that means letting go.
I carried grief and rage and pain for five years: three for one person, two for another. But five is one of my favorite numbers, because it lies in the middle of the spectrum between extremes. Five can go either way, high or low. Five is a number with choices to be made. Five is a number around which to shape your own destiny.
For three and two years, I have swung my five low, and languished in my grief. But with three swings of a hammer, I shattered her cup, and I let her go. With three swings of a hammer, I destroyed his photo, and I let him go. And then added some more swings, because loving yourself means owning up to what you feel and letting yourself know that it’s OK to be angry. It’s OK for it to hurt.
It hurt because it meant something to you, and it’s time to feel that – and once you’re done, time to let it go.
*The book series is Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.