The Freedom in Letting Go
January 3, 2010 § 7 Comments
I used to think it was about letting go. That when people left us, we had to let them go. They were gone. They were lost. Maybe they died, maybe they simply fell out of our lives. My biggest challenge used to be letting go.
Before I moved to Calgary and after my brother died, I lived in his condo for a year. I was holding on. I was holding on so tightly. Had it not been for my mother’s somewhat more than gentle push to get out of Millet, I would’ve stayed. I would’ve held on. Because I thought that if I held on tightly enough, it would mean that I wouldn’t ever forget him. It would mean that I’d never actually have to lose him. And then maybe I wouldn’t have to miss him as much.
A voice inside my head kept telling me that I had to let go. I had to move on with my life. In fact that’s what we tend to hear from others trying to offer support, trying to breath some life back into us. And maybe it is about letting go, at least to an extent. I couldn’t hold onto what life was. It couldn’t be the same, no matter how tightly I grasped at what I could. When I left Millet, I hadn’t let go yet. My parents and I kept his condo for a good six months, I went back almost every weekend and hung on.
I can’t pinpoint the exact time I began to let go, but I do remember the first time I was able to look at his picture and feel him smiling at me and be able to smile back, not from a place of sorrow, but from a place of happy memory. I felt like he was telling me that I was okay. I was through the woods. I was headed uphill back to what life used to be like.
Today, I picked up his pocket watch. It stopped ticking a long time ago, and I’ve never bothered to replace the battery. As I thumbed the texture on the casing, examined the still hands, I realized something. It is not the ticking of the hands that made the pocket watch a pocket watch. I’ve carried it with me on occasion even without the ticking hands. And just as the pocket watch remains what it is, so to does Wayne. My brother is still my brother. And I can bring him with me whenever I need to. It’s not about holding on anymore. I had to learn to let him go to get to the place that I found he is still here, though he may not tick, he can still exist as whatever I need him to be.