#reverb10: let go

Prompt: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

Reverb10 prompt from Alice Bradley


It’s one thing to put something down when your hands are full and you’re trying to sip your coffee but your keychain is digging into your palm. It’s another thing to let go of something you didn’t even know you were carrying. My mother died more than three years ago, and only recently have I let go of a large portion of the grief from that loss.

I held on to sorrow, because sorrow reminded me that she was gone. Inside, I felt—even though I knew this made no sense—that the sorrow demonstrated how much I missed her, loved her. And I held on to guilt, which made even less sense. I felt guilt for being alive when she wasn’t, guilt for every time I let her down, and guilt over any possible thing I might have done to cause a ripple effect that would result in her not being here today. 


The sorrow serves no purpose. It made me feel hideous and she’s not here to see it, so it doesn’t demonstrate anything. In fact, if she were able to see it, she’d tell me to get past it. The guilt also serves no purpose. There is a disconnect between what your brain knows and what you feel, and you just can’t force your emotions to leap that chasm. 

I didn’t do anything specific to let go of this grief complex. It withered on its own, over time, just like they tell you it will. No one wants to hear about time making things better when they’re grieving; it sounds impossible, corny, and trite. But like anything else that leaves an outline when it evaporates, I can tell now that I’ve let it go. I can see the shape of it now when I look back. I have good memories and a little non-harmful sadness to take with me into the future, and those don’t weigh a thing.