As committed as I am to find joy again, I have often struggled to find balance between moving *forward* (bringing my memories with me) and moving *on* (leaving my memories behind).
There are benefits of both. On one hand, I want to always remember the wise but mischievous twinkle in Julian’s eyes, and his sweet voice asking me to “go fast like a jet!” when he wanted me to do something quickly. On the other hand, I’d be happy to forget the details of his terrifying last day in the hospital when I was totally and utterly powerless to help my son.
Then yesterday, it hit me. The way to find the balance between moving “forward” and moving “on” is to make the distinction between “mourning” and “suffering.” When something reminds me of Julian (as many things do), sometimes it makes me smile and sometimes it makes me sad. If I start feeling sad, I ask myself, am I remembering something positive about him, and mourning that loss? Or am I suffering because I’m re-living something painful?
So far, this technique has made a big difference for me. Happy memories are great, and deserve to be contemplated and carried forward into the future. But when I recognize that I’m suffering, I force myself to think about something else, something that I love remembering about Julian. I choose to move “on” from the suffering memories. Those can stay in the past, they don’t serve me now.
I give myself permission to release and move *on* from the memories that make me feel sorrow or suffering. Besides, I have plenty of wonderful memories to bring *forward* with me into the future.
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