I’m struggling with this concept of “letting go” these days. Honestly, when I think about it, I have to admit that I don’t even know what it means. What does it really mean to “let go”? Does it mean forgetting? Does it mean no more pain or tears? Does it mean you stop talking about it? If I don’t know what it means to let go, how am I supposed to do it?
This topic came to mind during a recent appointment. I recently started acupuncture treatments as a method for treating infertility. As we reviewed my health history, the acupuncturist noted that I’d filled out on my form that I don’t sleep well, and she asked about it. I told her that since my daughter died, I can fall asleep easily, but I wake up multiple times during the night – usually every couple of hours. She told me that she had a meditation technique for me to try to aid in my sleeping. She asked that as I lay down to fall asleep, I should imagine a rope connected to my body, with the other end of the rope connected to my daughter. And then I should imagine the rope getting longer and longer, with my daughter getting further and further away. I knew what she was going for – it was her way of telling me to let go. So I put on my fake smile (I’m exceptionally good at a fake smile) and lied to her that I’d try it.
I can’t imagine a way that this meditation technique would help me sleep. I really think it would create new problems in that I now wouldn’t be able to fall asleep. But I understood what was behind it – I have to let go in order to solve my sleeping problem. Here’s the problem – letting go like this solves nothing for me. I never want to let go of my daughter, and I never will. I continue to learn every day how to live without her. I don’t live in denial that she’s gone, but she is and will always be my daughter, and whether she’s here or not, I’ll love her until my last breath and beyond. It’s simply not possible to let that go.
Shortly after Vivienne died, someone told me about some Mexican belief system (I have no idea if it’s true or not, but the story of how it was told to me is). There is apparently this belief that the tears of the grieving act as a weight on the person who was lost. When we stop crying, it allows them to move on. The story was told to me as a means to be OK with not crying for Vivienne every day – that it was a good thing in that I was allowing her to move on.
I have to say that I hate this belief. If you think you have mother’s guilt with your living children, imagine feeling that the grief and tears that you can’t control are keeping your child from moving on to what comes after this life. Not only do you feel a pain stronger than I can describe, but you also get to feel guilty for carrying that pain because you aren’t letting your child go and move on. Just imagine how that feels.
I don’t necessarily believe that it’s true – that I’m somehow holding Vivienne back. But it is something that I wonder about, and I guess I’d have to say that I worry about too. I would never want to hold Vivienne back, and to think that my grief and missing her would hurt her in any way. . .well, it’s just a thought that is too painful for me to even process.
So what does it mean to let go? I’ll never stop loving her or missing her. I will always talk about her, and there will always be days that I cry over losing her. For the rest of my life, I will do things to honor her memory by helping other people. If eliminating any of those are necessary for “letting go” than I have to say that it’s never going to happen. It's just not possible.