Friday, December 17, 2010

Tears Overcome

Every year, on my birthday, I write an e-mail to myself and set it up to be delivered on my birthday the following year. I tell my future self about my present self, ask about what my future self is up to, and give my future self advice and words of encouragement. I have absolutely no memory of the e-mail that I wrote shortly following my family's death (or of much of anything in those subsequent months; I was in one hell of a state of shock). So the following year, when the e-mail arrived, it came to me as a preternatural, almost celestial voice. The words were foreign to me. And there was one little paragraph in it that profoundly affected me:

Listen to me, listen to the me of your past: your life will be wonderful, truly, truly wonderful! I say this and I know I'm right because I'm in more pain than you are right now. I am still salty with the tears that have not stopped since January 14th. You have cried more than me. But I am crying those tears you have already overcome. Do you understand that? Is that sinking in? You have overcome what I am going through. You have made it through so many of me's, and now you are you.

I love that idea, and it has been a great help to me. When I fall back into the depths of grief, I feel like I've gone back to day one and my healing has been completely negated. But a more accurate description is that the grief I experience now is accessible to me because I've already grieved and overcome precursory sorrow. And in that frame of mind, I truly do feel farther down a path of healing.

For the first time, over this past week, I've been re-reading my journal entries since the day my family died. Some of the words that I have read scare me to my very core. It hurts me that I was, at any point, that pained and hopeless.

But it's powerfully inspiring to see just how far I've come and how much I've healed, and it is such a comfort to know that my very worst grief attacks today are so much more hopeful than they have ever been.


Milena said...

That e-mail and this entire post is so inspiring! You are extremely insightful. And I'm glad you made it this far. :)

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