Change is devastatingly hard, but I think for the first time in my life I have faith in my wings and not the branch. Don’t get me wrong – the pain, the grief, and the agony are all still very raw. Sometimes I feel like I am so mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted from crying that I have become a spectator of my life, not a participant. Times when the pain becomes so intense I can hardly breathe.
Yet I know that I am in control – that this is temporary and I am fully aware of the happiness that lies on the other side of my tears – not as an after-thought, but as a constant one. I have given myself permission to sit with the heartache and anger and to experience every fleeting feeling that comes with them. It is intense, but it is also purposeful because I know once these emotions pass, my confidence in my own inner strength only grows. So I cry until I can’t breathe, knowing that I am clearing the way for fresher air.
These past four weeks have been a true test of whether I have truly healed from my trauma. I had to euthanize my rescue dog Link because the abuse he sustained as a puppy caused brain damage, ultimately leading to aggression he could no longer control. I could relate to Link on so many very personal levels. Nothing could have ever prepared me for witnessing an otherwise young and completely healthy dog take his last breaths – and I think about the countless victims who lost their lives at the hands of their abusers – or at their own hands – because the intensity of healing from it was too much to take. Link’s final moments were a reminder that I could have sustained the same fate with my abuser’s hands wrapped around my neck. Link helped me realize the fact that not only did I survive, but I also continue to survive each and every day. While I still weep over his life and his death, I clench the necklace around my neck containing his ashes, letting him know that I understood his pain and thanking him for the reminder that each day I push forward is a testament to my courage. Thank you, Link, for the profound impact you had on my life in the short while you were with me.
In addition to losing Link, I lost a partnership, which led to the complete uprooting of my life as I knew it and envisioned it. I submitted my resignation to a district I called home, packed up my belongings I thought would never have to be packed up again, and prepared for life in a new district in a different town. So many goodbyes to so many people I have come to love. Goodbyes that feel like someone is squeezing my heart into paralysis. Sitting with these gut-wrenching emotions is suffocating at times. I invite them in any way, knowing that if I could get through an abusive marriage that completely distinguished my identity, I can get through this too. When the room grows dark, I remind myself of times I didn’t think I could stand to live another day but did it anyway. Soon these feelings too will become a fleeting moment in my past that shapes me into a better version of myself.
Yes, these past four weeks have been a true test of whether I have truly healed from my trauma – and I have. Instead of opening my umbrella each time the rain falls, I close my eyes and let it wash over me, knowing that eventually, the sun will shine again. Maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow, but it will.
Photo: Flickr – dany13