I posted this meme a while ago. It resonated so much with me, because in the last thirteen years, since the world I had back then was torn apart and all I believed in was undone, I have learned that this simple statement means so much in all aspects of life.
Perhaps that was one of my important lessons: to let go of things, and it continued to be an ongoing lesson. But people say often to me that it is ‘so hard’ and that is why I am writing this post. Because I know how hard it is but if you do not let go, then it will destroy you and all that you want to save.
When Danny first returned I wanted back what we had before. I quickly realised that was never going to happen, but I fought it tooth and nail for probably the first two months, until Danny said the infamous line that he found it a ‘compliment’ that two women had a fight over him. That stopped me in my tracks, because I realised that I didn’t actually know if I wanted him back at all.
Within months I had realised what we had was gone, that we could only build new: memories, personalities, life. Despite knowing that and writing it often I grieved it, I grieved what I had lost, anyone reading my story will know that, and I grieved it for probably two years. But in all that time I forged forward making new, because I had no choice: I could only go forward.
I would often write in my journal how what we had was gone. It was my subconsious reminding me of that all the time. I had a choice: I could let go to enable the new, or I could hold on to something that didn’t exist, probably had never really existed as I thought, and stay stuck.
The Anniversary that nobody on the infidelity merry go round wants, arrived. I dreaded and feared it. I had been running away for a whole year from what had happened to me. I understand now that I needed to do that for that first year, to enable us to start to rebuild and make new memories. If I had faced up to my reality then: the full shitty reality, I would not be here now.
Time wore on and during that year the enormity of what had happened had slowly started to sink in. And bit by bit I let it. I would take myself off to sit somewhere on my own and I would just allow myself to accept it. I would cry, strangely I didn’t often feel anger, just overwhelmeing sadness. But the anniversary was different: it was a big thing because I knew it would bring it all rushing back, and I knew that although I was strong enough to survive it, I didn’t know if we were. I didn’t know if I would leave.
I have written about that first anniversary and of how I allowed myself to relive every second, of every minute of every day that had led up to the day that Danny left. And I survived, I got stronger, I realised it was part of my past, that could and would affect my future, but that how it affected it was all down to me.
By allowing the pain to wash over me whilst still understanding that where I was in the here and now, and reminding myself that if I left it would be the here and now I was leaving, and not the past, I was able to let it go. slowly. No anniversary affected me as much in the future By allowing myself to accept my pain and what had happened I was able to move forward.
Often when the thought of what had happened came into my head, and the little demon started to whisper I would literally shut my eyes, put my hand up as if to stop someone and say ‘no’. That someone was me. It was me I had to stop and I did, I retrained my brain over time to stop. It can be done.
The only way you can let go, is to accept where you are. In the beginning (and I would class the beginning as about the first two years minimum) that is so hard to do. You are in shock, you feel disbelief, you are overwhelmed by grief, and you look back at what you had and sometimes convince yourself that it was all so much better then.
Only you can decide if that is true.
So as I accepted what had happened and where we were, and that Danny was contrite, and that it had affected Danny as badly as it had affected me, in fact worse sometimes, we were able to start to rebuild our life, and trust in each other. Because you see Danny didn’t trust me not to have my revenge. In 2011 as he planned to leave his career due to stress and the breakdown he had suffered, he told me he was afraid. When I asked him why he said because he wondered if once he had no income, and was vulnerable, I would then turn and laugh and leave. I accepted that, I understood that, and no I didn’t think he deserved that. I was shocked that even four years later he felt that. So I reassured him and we moved forward again together, me with a little more understanding than before.
When we came to move here to France I had to let go of the house we lived in. The house that had been my sanctuary when Danny was gone. The house that I had worked so hard on, and loved. But the experiences that we had enabled me to understand that to have this adventure I had to let it go. It was hard, but again I learned that a house is just a house, it is us that make it a home. I learned that life moves forward and you cannot take the past with you if you want to do that, otherwise that is where you will live: in the past.
We have learned over the years that you can only ever judge what you need based on your circumstances at that moment in time. When I wrote about living here I said how much this house had replenished my soul. It did, so sufficiently that I am now strong again and ready to move on to something new.
Now we are going to use what we learned again. We are probably going to move on from this house, and possibly to Ireland in the future. We learned over all those years that to hold on so tight to the past, to possessions, to safety and stability (whatever that is, because I don’t believe it actually exists) actually stops us going forward as human beings. To live.
What Danny and I had all those years ago at the beginnning of our recovery was what we needed then to survive, then as time moved on what we needed changed: we needed to be able to trust each other again, to feel safe. That was it, we needed to feel as safe as any person can feel in a life subject to change. We understood that was all we could give each other. No expectations, just hope.
You have to let go to move forward, and you cannot stand still because it’s not possible. Change is inevitable. Don’t fear it.
Making This Better the book is now available including the journal entries for the first 5 years of our recovery & the whole 21 days of ‘The War’. Available internationally in paperback and ebook at Amazon and Barnes & Noble also available at Xlibris and Apple Books for iPad and Waterstones Bookstores for click & collect