Coping with Memories

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Memory... is the diary that we all carry with us.
— Oscar Wilde

The memories are less these days. I used to suffer from episodes of crippling grief caused by the memories. I would be going about my day, thinking I was all healed, and then all of a sudden, a memory would come floating into my brain and would take out my figurative knees. I would cripple under the weight of the past; the shadows that continued to haunt my mind.

I was in an extremely dark period of grief. I was also coping with trauma. When you’re in that place, you can have moments, or days, or weeks where you feel like you’re totally healed. Your mind will trick you because it so desperately wants to be healed and happy and hopeful again; however, the difficult reality is that you aren’t healed. I wasn’t healed, not by a long shot.

I would be going about my day and something would trigger a memory. The memories would range from memories that brought a smile to my face to memories I wish I could forget. Either way, happy or not, these memories would cripple me. Happy or not, these memories would remind me of what I lost and the reality of my life: I was experiencing divorce and had to start over when that’s the last thing I ever wanted for my life.

I would exist there, in that headspace, reliving the past, for hours or days on end. I would cry. I would spend days in bed. I would ignore friends and family. I would want it all to just end. Everything. It was a dark place.

I was coping with extreme grief less than a year ago, but for some reason, most days, it feels like a lifetime ago. Today I was reminded that it’s not that long ago and maybe I’m still not fully healed.

I saw his car today. Well not his car exactly, but the make and model of his car. It drove right past my house. The person driving looked like him. It brought me right back. To that car. To those years. To our relationship. To our marriage. To our love. To the happy memories. To the sad ones. To it all. The memories hit me hard today when I thought I was 100% healed. Today I missed being married. I missed our friendship. I missed our life. I missed him.

I’m not reconciling. I’m still “Divorced at 30,” but even so, today I missed marriage and I missed him. Life’s so strange. One moment, you feel 100% healed and like you're totally moving on. The next day, you’re drinking wine and missing the person you never thought you’d miss again.

This is why I blog about these things. I can imagine there are other people exactly like me. People who don’t wish to be married anymore but still miss their ex-spouses. Maybe you miss your Saturday morning ritual or hanging out on the couch watching your favourite show together. Maybe you miss holidays with their family or just the day-to-day traditions you had established as a couple. Maybe you miss a lot.

My only advice is don't fight your memories. Let them come. Embrace them. If you deny yourself these memories, you will deny yourself the grief you have to suffer to move forward. If you deny these memories, you will deny yourself the emotions that you have to feel to eventually be o.k.

Be authentic to what your body is feeling and what your mind is thinking. There’s no point fighting anything. If someone asks if you’re ok, be genuine and tell them about what you’re experiencing. Your tribe will rally and will understand. Those who love you will support you with love and kindness. Let them hold you up when you feel like falling to pieces.

One day the memories will be less.

Until then, I’m sending you only light and peace.