love letter

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a Life Empowerment Workshop, led by the inspiring and steady as a beating drum Sid McNairy. It was suggested we write a love letter to a person who we defined and held a personal complaint with, in efforts to transition us out of keeping a victim mentality.

During the exercise where we voiced the specific complaints, I couldn’t really pinpoint – or want to – any personal complaint with anyone else in particular …except myself.

My personal complaint with myself became clear and quite simple: I can’t forgive myself.  For a whole lot.
And something became even clearer: my grieving heart has been competing with my courageous heart.

I miss and love and want to grieve my husband, but I also want to live my life all out, all in, brave and bold as it is beautifully, imperfectly unfolding now.

I realized a lot of things over the course of the weekend about myself and perspectives, but one remains.
I can be both. I can have both. I can feel it all.
But. There’s always a but. I just don’t have to hold onto anything, any.thing, ANYTHING!, that does not serve me or move me closer to a calm, peaceful heart.
I can 86 any perspective, any thought process, any.damn.thing that thieves my peace. At any time.
I am the keeper of my peace of mind.

This is my letter, to me. My grieving heart to my courageous heart. At odds.
No wonder I have been so anxious and wondering how to proceed.
Absolutely one of the hardest things I have ever written, I have written HUNDREDS of love letters but never written a love letter to me?
And as I hand wrote it in a notebook, I had one of those out-of-body, almost out-of-mind moments. My head was moving quicker than my hand as I scribbled, and in that feverish, passionate moment I truly felt like a vessel.
Something was shifting, something was lifting out of me and I was pouring something out that was incredibly messy but most of all… painfully truthful.

I realized this big thing, this really big thing… I can miss and love Shayne my entire life… What I don’t have to do, or required to do, is grieve him my entire life.
The amount of time grieving is in no way a reflection of how deep my love was for him.

This is exactly how we heal.

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Dear Braveheart,

I am so proud of you and love you very much.
I have watched and experienced your gigantic courage and unconditional love for me and want you to know: I see you & I hear you.
You have risen out of the ashes of multiple tragedies like a true phoenix.
You have remained unwavering and loyal to your purpose to provide me with a bravery in some pretty scary situations. I am so grateful.
I have tried to keep you small and controlled, only allowing glimpses of you when I absolutely needed you.

I have kept you caged and still when called to action, I am never met with your resistance.
I know, truly, you are stronger and shine much more brilliantly than my grief and pain and hurt.
But, they will keep your true power small and victimized if I allow them to keep you imprisoned.
My bereavement dominated most days the first year after Shayne died in the form of valid anger, guilt and shame.
Anger, guilt, and shame rooted resentment for why and how Shayne died, and kept you from roaming free.

I justify keeping you small and contained because my grief and pain and hurt is my process with losing the most important person in my life.

That process and those emotions were completely valid and its all been useful to me and I needed to go through and feel each of those – but now. Now, that I am in a relationship with and love someone new, I want to progress in my new life with you, courage, wholeheartedly.

Because I have not wanted to let go of my pain, and keep some hostage in my heart and mind, I have lost love in moments for Shayne, my brother, my family, and more than any of them, myself, by leading with my broken heart.

Anxiety has now flourished, disconnection and isolation and shame have settled in and my mind and body feel at constant odds.
There are days and moments you have helped me find joy and taken bold steps onward, but consistently, especially lately, my satisfaction for life is not being sustained. The tug and pull of trying to be courageous and hurt have exhausted me.

I want to, and will, unleash your power Braveheart.

I know you have been in there all along and placing quiet calls on my heart to move with valor and speak with patience and share vulnerably and heal peacefully. But I have not allowed you to roar.

I feel I have been in a car, driving, you in the passenger seat with my old friends: grief, shame, and guilt in the back seat. Those friends I just keep around because I’ve known them for so long but barely have anything in common with anymore. They’re yelling out directions and where to go. Distracting and disorienting me.
You, just sitting there calm… waiting, as soon as I am ready to tell them to, “Shut the hell up,” we can get to where we need to go.

Let’s go, Braveheart. Lead the way.


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