i got to thinking about how the better part of these last couple years have been geared toward letting go and moving on, for me.
letting go of fear.
letting go of insecurities.
letting go of the depression.
letting go of thinking there was no way out of depression.
letting go of the lie that said my life had no purpose.
letting go of resentment.
letting go of a boy.
letting go of trying to fit in.
letting go of my best friend.
i had lost grandparents and great grandparents before. and a long time ago, one friend had moved away.
but this was different.
this was something else entirely.
this was something new.
this was much, much harder.
and much, much darker.
this time, it was like the whole world had been set on fire and I was somehow expected to escape the flames. it felt like there was no way out. like there was no way of escaping the sadness that surrounded me everywhere i looked. that sadness was the flames. this was the kind of sadness that makes you actually, physically hurt. it's a kind of hurt that's somewhere deep inside the depths of your chest. and you can't get rid of it. you try and try, but it never wants to go away. the pain and the hurt and the anger and the realization of what you've just lost sticks around for so long.
and when days turn to weeks and weeks turn to months and then those months turn into years, you begin to wonder if you'll ever heal. you wonder if you'll ever get rescued. you wonder if this is how life is going to be from now on. if this kind of pain is going to make up the new you. because you aren't the same person you were before. and i had made up my mind that if this was how things were going to be, just plain painful all the time, then i wasn't going to stick around much longer.
it was becoming almost unbearable.
* * *
the days after my friend and i went our separate ways, i remember looking around my room and suffocating underneath the framed pictures hanging on every wall. all pictures of us.
thinking that she was all i had.
thinking that if she was gone, i was gone.
and sure enough, she was gone.
and i had nothing left to live for.
with shaking hands, i took the photos down. one by one.
i don't believe any kid should have to do that. ever.
i remember throwing the pictures in the trash. people would try to convince me to keep them and just hide them away until the wounds healed over and it didn't hurt so much to think of her, or look at a photo of her cheek pressed up against mine, but i knew that day would never- could never- come. not for me. maybe it could happen for other people, but i had loved this friend too much. too much to ever even begin to heal from losing her.
i had lost a friend.
no, i hadn't just lost a friend.
i had lost my best friend.
my only friend.
and with that friend, i lost all that used to make up me.
* * *
a couple of months ago, i was adding to my keepsake box. hadn't got into that box for months and months.
i lifted the lid.
on the very top was a stack of cards.
birthday cards from my old friend.
couple page letters of how she knew we would "grow old together." how she wanted me to be her maid of honor someday. how i would be her children's godmother...
when i read the letters, all of her words were just a blur through my eyes. when i read them, all i kept hearing repeated through my head was, "look what you have lost, hannah. look what's never coming back."
i remember picking up one of the letters and ripping it into tiny pieces. i wanted to do that to all of them. and then i wanted to burn each tiny, individual piece of paper. i didn't want anything left of her around. it hurt way too much. i didn't want to think of her anymore, but even years later, she was always in the back of my mind. always reminding me what i had lost. it didn't matter if i her picture was on the wall or not, because i was always still thinking of her. i was still carrying around that burden of emptiness.
i was so sick of thinking of her. so sick of trying to forget and move on, but failing and losing the fight every time i tried.
i was so sick of people telling me i would eventually move on, someday. well when would someday come? i couldn't wait much longer. some tried to push me along too fast or too hard. but i knew nothing could be done to repair this heart.
but when i think about it now, deep down i don't think i really ever wanted to heal, because back then i thought healing would mean forgetting. and i didn't want to forget. i wasn't ready to let her go. i wasn't ready to let my world go, since she was the one who had always made up my world. i needed to find another way to survive again. because at the time, i was barely breathing.
* * *
sometimes i wonder about who i would be today if she had never left. i'm sure i'd just be an older version of the same clingy friend who didn't know where her value truly came from. who didn't know that even when it was time for the friend to go, there would be this completely amazing God who would remain. who would come along and fill in the gap. who was meant to fill in that gap all along.
sometimes i wonder if i was given a chance to do it all over again, if i would change a single thing. and there are days when i would say i would. go back and do it all over. when all i would want was to go running back to her. i would have mended everything between us. i would have kept her around. but those are the hard days, when i think like that.
but on the good days, which are most days now, i wouldn't want any part of the journey changed. because this journey has molded me into something more genuine.
i do wonder sometimes if we met in the street, if she would be able to see the different person that i am. that i have become because of what had to happen.
and i'm sure she's changed because of this, too.
sometimes i wonder if she thinks of me. if she ever misses me.
i'll be honest, sometimes i'm not done missing her.
or i'll wonder if she wants things to be like they were all those years ago.
if she'd like to see us taking pictures together now, in highschool. pictures i guess we both thought we would take someday, cheek to cheek. side by side. arms around each other's shoulders.
but i realize now that although the giving her up has been one of the most painful things i've had to do this far, i've come to realize, too, that we weren't ever meant to take those pictures. and we won't ever take them.
and that's okay. it is. because gradually, day by day, i am becoming more and more alright with it all as i learn to see how God was doing what He saw was best for me. for her. for the both of us.
as i begin to erase old lies and write new truths across and around my heart, i am seeing how it will be more okay someday. i catch glimpses of it every now and then that show me i'll make it out alive. when it's all done, i want to have the current wounds, the opened up cuts and scrapes nothing but scars to show people. i want to have them to be able to say, "look where i've been. i've been hurt, too. so no, you're not alone."
* * *
letting go hurts.
it takes your heart and twists it hard. but not hard enough to break it. you just linger around in the pain for awhile. waiting for it to end sometime, anytime. but it feels like the end will never come.
it does, though.
it is coming, for me.
i'd be lying if i said letting go was easy. but it can be done.
it is being done, today. by me and by other people like me.
i am always doing it, bit by bit. so i know that i'll come out alive. each day, working with God to peel back another layer of the story, and where there is hurt, to heal.
i don't think anyone can ever master the art of letting go.
but you don't have to be particularly good at something to be able to do it.
and i have found that i can do it.
and if i could ever do something like that, then i know you can, too. because i was the girl who thought she could never let go of anything. but i have learned how to gradually let go of someone. and this time around, refill the empty hole with someone who will stick around.
i'm learning to let that someone be God. because He is the only thing i could ever be one hundred percent sure of. ever.
(learning how to) choose joy always,