Posted by: shelliejelly | November 10, 2008

Dear K.

I’ve made a great many mistakes while grieving your loss. Some minor, like promising to sustain a ritual like letting a rose go at your favorite place. I think I did this once and then couldn’t bring myself, or got too lazy, to go again. Others more major, like never quite bringing myself to the point of being able to say good-bye — honestly and truly.

The truth is I always felt like saying good-bye to you and letting you go would mean I had to forget or give up the love we had between us. Or perhaps I thought that letting you go would mean I couldn’t love you anymore. I’m not sure, and the reasons are most likely more complicated than either of these suggest, compounded by factors that were coincidental, like you being my first love.

More than one person, my grief counselor included, has encouraged me to move beyond your death in a way that allows me to live without the burden of casting everything in the light of this tremendous loss. Until now, I think I believed I was doing just that. And a part of me, too, felt angry at the suggestion, as though they were asking me to deny our love.

Illogical, at best, conscious denial, at worst. The real shame is that holding so tightly to your loss has caused me to live under a veil of sadness without ever recognizing it as such. I made decisions that were informed by what you meant to me, alive with the hope that, somehow, we would still be connected.

The fact is we will always be connected. I can always remember you and our love as extraordinary. I can’t, however, give these memories power. I can no longer act as though you are my guide through this lifetime. In doing so, I’ve trapped you in a mortality you can no longer enjoy, and I’ve wrapped myself in a time and a place that is ethereal, a mirage of what was.

Remembering you, remembering us, will always be a source of comfort, can always provide me a sense of rightness. I can remember without reliving; I can let go without diminishing the truth of you and I.

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