More about Letting Go. (And Holding On.)

January 7, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Posted in My life | 3 Comments

During the summer that Amy died, there was one night where she came to me in a dream.

I hugged her so hard, and I said, I love you. I’m sorry I didn’t help you.

We hid in a secret room in my grandfather’s church; the room had a couch and a fireplace. And in front of the fire, we sat all night and talked. There was no pain, no fighting, nothing but love between us.

And I vividly remember when I noticed that the fire was dim and that light was starting to dawn. I looked over at Amy and said, You have to go now, don’t you?

She said yes.

We hugged, and as the light got stronger, she was gone.

I woke up in my bed, the morning light strong on my face, and I felt at peace.

The peace didn’t last, of course. I was grieving. I was also too busy beating myself up for not doing more, for being young and stupid and unaware of the seriousness of her pain.

But for years, I held onto my belief that my cousin actually came to me in a dream. It wasn’t my subconscious, working through my feelings, trying to accept that she was gone. It was her; she was REAL.

I also held onto the idea that her death was my fault for far too long.


I admit it: I am hurt about not being invited to my uncle’s wedding. He’s my godfather. I love him and would have loved to share in his good news.

I understand, of course, why I wasn’t invited. My feelings for the family, my love for my uncle, the years I had spent wanting him and my aunt to be my parents doesn’t mean he feels the same way about me. I don’t get an automatic invite to the wedding because I am his goddaughter.

And really. I’ve been trying to hold onto the remaining tendrils of our relationship together over the years.


Last night as I was falling asleep, all I saw was my aunt, so it didn’t surprise me that she came to me in a dream, too.

It wasn’t like my dream with Amy, where we had all night to talk. I don’t know where we were, but she and my uncle were there. I was holding Lucky; we were going somewhere. I had this sense I was low on time.

But I told her how much I loved her. I thanked her for showing me unconditional love all my life, and that I didn’t realize just how important she was until I knew she was gone. And I wanted her to know just how much she meant to me.

I hugged her, and we cried.

And then Lucky and I left.

And I woke up this morning with the thought that holding onto this idea that I didn’t get to tell her how I felt is hurting me.

I need to let her go.

I am not religious. I don’t really believe in an afterlife. I don’t believe that my aunt and cousin and grandfather are all sitting on some cloud together, waiting for my time to welcome me to heaven. I don’t believe in ghosts, either.

What I know is that I love my aunt. And I loved Amy, and my grandfather. And I miss them.

And I want my uncle and cousins to be happy.

And, too: I want to be happy.

I’ve been reading a lot about suffering lately, and am starting to see that some of my suffering is a result of holding on.

Holding onto anger at Charlie, myself, Lucky, infertility, my mother.

Holding onto guilt and punishing myself for things that really aren’t, or weren’t, my fault.

Holding onto hurt of being wronged in the past.

Holding onto the past to make me feel better about myself.

Holding onto hope that we’ll have another baby – and that will make me happy.

This year? I am working on letting go. Without pain, without guilt, without hurt. My aunt is gone. The relationship I had with my cousins and uncle is also gone.

It’s time to stop holding on… and let go.



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  1. Ah letting go. So simple a yet so impossibly difficult.

    A beautiful post. I hope you find the way to let go.

    Abiding with you.

  2. I wonder if peace will find you now that you’ve turned this over to the universe.

    I used to have vivid dreams about my brother, that many years after his death there was a knock on the front door and I opened it and it was him, alive, and searching for us all those years. Sometimes he looked like a zombie, sometimes he looked how I imagined he might have after being crushed by the steering wheel and weight of the truck, sometimes he looked like he’d been cruising around just looking for us, but the story was still the same, he wasn’t really dead. And, the joy, overjoy I felt, was indescribable. Then, I’d wake up and live the horror of knowing he’d never be coming to the front door.

    At some point, I finally shared the dream aloud with a boyfriend I had at the time (you know, the stove guy). Once I shared it with him and cried like I needed to, I never had the dream again. It was a relief to be unburdened.

    I hope it is for you, too.

  3. Letting go… so very, very difficult… yet so very, very necessary to find wholeness and peace. Wishing you peace and love in the new year.

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