"There were days where I truly felt like I was walking through quicksand. I felt every ounce of that weight, every tear in my eyes along the way, every ache in my heart, but I still kept dreaming."
On several occasions now, I have found myself at a dead end, but nothing I had been through prior was as final as the loss of this love. And that is where it starts, doesn’t it? It starts at the end of something. For you, it might have been the loss of a job, relationship, or even an illness. When this happens, it seems like time stops and you find yourself, as I did, right in the middle of the pain. This time though, was different. At first I didn’t notice it.
On Day 1 (Saturday), I was mired in shock and I walked around in disbelief asking myself about the the "whys" and "what ifs".
On Day 2 (Sunday), I woke up hoping that I could somehow “bargain” my way out of what looked to me to be a waking nightmare. I spent the day, trying to repair and restore what was already lost. By the end of the day, I was exhausted and I knew there was no way to proceed except to exit the relationship completely.
After experiencing many different types of loss prior, this time I was aware of how to process and persevere through this. It would take me about two weeks to pick myself off the floor, three months to push myself out of the haze and sadness and a total of six months to get back onto solid ground. I imagined six months with lots of support. But this time I thought "Maybe not." This time, I felt, maybe it would be never.
On Day 3 (Monday), I couldn’t shake it no matter how much I tried. What was it and why was this happening? It all took me by surprise. Upon waking, I saw a clear picture in my head while getting ready for work, over and over again. All through the day, without trying, I began “seeing” clearly what I now call the: “After All Of This Is Over". I saw myself taking a trip with a dear friend; someone I could not identify with just yet, but I felt peace, joy, and at ease within those moments. I saw myself traveling somewhere I had been before but with fresh eyes and adventure in my heart. I never thought I’d experience this again. I saw laughter, tears of joy and long, exhausting days where every minute was lived “out loud” – enjoying the here and now. I wanted to know more.
Throughout the rest of the day, I followed all of what my mind and heart gave me. My co-workers kept asking me things like, “Why are you smiling to yourself? What’s going on?” and “You look so happy. What’s your secret?” I laughed to myself and wondered how I was doing this during “the most difficult time of my life.” I was experiencing something so new, something that was driving me in an entirely new way.
I was overwhelmed and fell asleep quickly, grasping onto this one idea, one picture, one feeling.
I slept well. There was no tossing and turning like on the first two nights. I told myself not "why", but "how to" “After All Of This Is Over". It seemed so unlike me, but I started to wonder if this might be a key to how to live through loss. I looked forward to the next day and that was shocking to me since this definitely was not my way of previously progressing or processing things. I decided to journal my experiences.
On Day 4 (Tuesday), I woke up ready to go knowing this “picture” was still forming in my head. I had so much grieving to do, but this time a new “picture” was constantly popping into my thoughts. I began to focus and feel so much. I starting thinking about my loss less than I anticipated. I felt a little guilty too because I was walking around elated, and hopeful. My co-worker said “I can tell you’re in love. I know your secret.” Boy, was she wrong about that, but she was right about the pure joy. I decided not to tell her. I wanted to learn more about what specific possibilities were out there for me.
For the next several years, that “dream” became my "go-to" whenever my mind turned to my loss. Whenever I had some free time, I researched every “Who, What, When, Where and Why” about my “dream of” destination. I had no means of financially completing this trip, nor did I have enough vacation time to do it. My “destination” morphed into “destinations” and yet, I felt that all of it represented my “After All Of This Over” for me. During that time, I went through financial challenges due to the end of that relationship along with work impacts due a recession and downturn. I had three children to support day-to-day in any way I possibly could and became seriously ill twice. And ... believe it or not, my dream came true. It was even better than I had imagined. Yes it did!
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