Thursday, 4 October 2012

Knowing When To Let Go

“Giving up doesn’t always mean you’re weak, sometimes it just means you’re strong enough to let go”. What a beautiful quote that can bring about so many emotions, yet people rarely listen to the message behind it. We have no control over certain aspects of our lives; therefore we cannot always control our emotions when they are provoked. But what we can decide is how we will deal with them. For some people, mental walls are built, blocking all feelings from entering the body. They acknowledge the pain but can’t bear to face it. Others go straight into denial. They deny their closest ones the compassion they need from them, they deny themselves the chance to come to terms with reality, and they deny their hearts the opportunity to ever fully heal. Then there are those that embrace the anguish. They weep and they moan, and they follow every step in the ‘Griever’s Guide’ correctly, except for one thing. They nurture the pain.

There are so many circumstances in which people must make the conscious decision to let go of a loved one. Be it a broken relationship, an unexpected death, or simply time getting the better of us. One of the most difficult ways of letting go is when you are still infatuated with the person that has crushed your world. Nothing in life seems worth the pain of watching them walk away, after smashing your heart on the hollow ground. “I don’t love you anymore” – five words no-one ever wants to hear. Especially when you can’t say them back. There are so many clichéd ways attached to the “getting over them” stage. Girly nights in with friends and ice-cream, getting hammered with “the lads” and pretending that it actually makes a difference or worst of all, the rebound curse. This is not going to fix a broken heart. If anything, it’ll just remind you how shit you really feel. You’re not with that person because you’re attracted to them; you’re there because it has become a global rite of passage when your love life disintegrates.

Maybe some of you don’t feel the aftermath of a relationship ending. But most of you would be somewhat familiar with the over-used expressions “He was the one” and “I’ll never love anyone like that again”. Eh, chances are you will love again, and at the age of thirteen there’s no hope in hell he was the one. If you can find someone new within a few weeks, fair deuce, but generally the heart won’t have recovered that quickly, and certainly won’t be willing to risk getting beaten to a pulp like that again. There’s no way of speeding up that recovery, and time doesn’t always work its wonders. Eventually you will just have to get rid of the pictures and stop playing “our song”. You can’t force someone to love you, no matter how much that hurts to hear.

Not only are you wasting love on someone that doesn’t deserve it, you are wasting precious days, weeks or months that you will never get back. Life is unpredictable; you can never really tell how much longer you’ll be around. Death is a word that scares many people. Death is unfair, confusing and the most excruciating form of losing someone. They are gone forever and all you’re left with as consolation are the memories. It doesn’t make a difference whether it’s out of the blue or if you’ve been expecting it for six months; the grieving is unbearable. You think about your last encounter with them; what was the last thing you said? Unfortunately, our true feelings aren’t always voiced until it’s too late.

Sometimes it’s the words left unspoken that matter the most. If you were granted one minute with the person you know is going to die, you wouldn’t spend it telling them about how your day was. You’d tell them how much they meant to you and how severely you love them. Why are we so cautious about showing our deepest feelings? Irish people are terrible at those sorts of meaningful conversations. And when we are rarely confronted with this kind of agony, why do we assume putting on the kettle is going to help a newly widowed woman or a man that has just filed for divorce? They want comforting and support, not a cup of tea.

There are so many people I know that have encountered death so many times it’s ridiculous. I’m talking about people my age. The ones that haven’t got years and years of memories to hold onto. How can young people like this be expected to keep their faith in God when they are getting no explanation as to why their relatives are being taken from them. How can they look to a future with families of their own when they are so deeply scarred by death? I once asked someone if they still believed in God after all this trauma. They answered yes; they wanted so badly to believe that they would meet their loved ones again and that they hadn’t just disappeared completely.

Is there ever really a way to move on from such damaging forms of pain? I wish I could answer that. I recently found a diary I had kept a few years ago, and inside I found a little wish list. The third wish was simply “Death didn’t exist”. Bear in mind I was under the age of 12 when I wrote that. But do we really want that? If we had no limit to our lives, would we ever really live? Pain is a way of knowing you’re alive. If you’ve never felt it, you haven’t lived yet. Deciding to be happy after enduring such heartache should not make you feel guilty. It does not mean you have forgotten, it means you have moved the person to a safer place; from your mind to your heart.

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