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Just Let Go
Rose Thomas knows that when suffering a major loss through death or divorce, the advice to "just let go" is easier said than done.
By Rose Thomas
Your heart is broken.
You rely on friends for care, but not from the one who was your best friend, and said he would be with you for life. He changed, perhaps. The reality is the life you knew was discarded. That urge to find solace from the best of friends arrives nowhere, because that friendship is broken. Like unrelenting nerve pain, there is no cure because the body is broken and ever will be. And while you roil in it, seeking relief from those around you, how many times did you hear, "It didn't work out, just let go?"
Letting go is offered almost as an invocation with the magic to change night into day, and pain into peace in a blink of the mind's eye. But loss is a matter of the heart, which moves more slowly.
Years ago, I witnessed the death of my beloved dog, Penny. I knelt beside her, stroking her head, listening as she quietly heaved a few breaths. Then the vet injected her. I felt a brief internal panic in the moments that followed. I realized death does not happen instantaneously. I thought surely my sweet dog and I would have only a merciful few seconds as her body shut down. Then all would be well. But her transition, from life to a creature of my past, felt achingly slow.
And so it is with the loss of human attachment, in this case, divorce. Forms and traditions exist for celebrating marriage and parenthood. We are advised there is no right or wrong when it comes to grieving death. But grieving the loss of marriage requires only the uncomplicated grace of simply letting go.
Uncomplicated for whom?
Compassionate friendship, I think, relies on acts that help those forsaken to adapt and adjust. If friends cannot uphold a couple in their vows, the least they can do is ease this passage with the courage to hold pain with those they love. Otherwise, dear friends, be kind and truthful with yourselves and just let go.
With a Perspective, this is Rose Thomas.
Rose Thomas is a psychologist and writer in Sonoma and Solano counties.