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A Lake of Roses, Grief and Learning to Let Go

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Standing on the shoreline of a beautiful lake as I watched the sunset, I stood on the beach with my feet nestled in the sand.  The tree line was a gorgeous site, lining each side of the lake. The sun an amazing ombre of orange and pink that truly lit up against the darkness falling upon the lake as it settled into its resting place for another turn of the Earth. The water was calm. So quiet and peaceful. The water was my release. The water serving the purpose of letting go.

I slowly and gently tiptoed toward the water until my toes felt the coolness of the water and wet sand beneath its surface. Gliding into the water until my knees, then hips, were submerged. Feeling at peace, this was my opportunity to release negativity. To release those feelings harboring inside of my soul.

Dried yellow roses appeared in my hand. These dry yellow roses I held onto for far too long. They once rested on the casket of someone I loved so deeply. As I stood in the water, I began to pluck the petals of these gorgeous yellow roses and place them onto the water’s still surface, letting them drift away. Drift into the darkness that fell upon the lake, disappearing into the abyss never to be seen again.

As the bunch of roses became smaller and smaller, an anger began to rise within my being. A fire brewing inside of me. What just felt peaceful, now felt fiery and fierce. You were floating away from me and I wanted you back. What have I done?

My heart ached and my mind spun. The thought of you slipping away from me was too much to take in. I began to crumble the remaining roses and then viciously threw them into the water with tears streaming down my cheeks as I screamed aloud, “I don’t want to do this! I can’t let you go!”  

I continued, knowing in my heart this was what I needed to do. Let go. I need to let you go and free myself from the confines of my past. This chapter needs to end. On good terms or bad, this chapter of my life story needed to be over. I needed to say goodbye.

Once the roses had dissipated, my body sank into the depths of the lake until I was submerged. Weightless, I floated beneath the water, allowing my sadness, grief and guilt to be washed away. I was cleansed of my sorrow and purified of my despair. My desolation had traveled downstream.

Letting go is a symbol of self-expression. It is allowing our hearts to open and enabling self-love and awareness to flood in. The personification of strength and empowerment. A relinquishment of something we hold onto so tight, we lose sight of what is right in front of us. What is important in that moment. One thing I have come to realize in this life is to look forward and never look back. Despite how much we grow, our roots remain the same. But we do require a bit of rain to flourish, and eventually with clear skies, we will blossom.

The bottling of emotions, feelings and memories restrict us from reaching our full potential mentally and emotionally. It stunts our growth and imprisons us within ourselves. I have been a victim of the past for quite some time which has resulted in an anxiety disorder and depression. It has resulted in holding myself back from enjoying the precious time I have with my family and from achieving personal and professional goals I have set for myself.

To move forward and move on in life, I believe you must let go of the past. Letting go does not mean forgetting. It does not mean what has occurred up to this point in your life holds less significance just because you are not ruminating about it every second. I believe it simply means you have matured enough to put that part of your life behind you and use it as a lesson to guide you in your journey. Each happening along the way is a small piece of a bigger puzzle.

The lake of roses represents my struggle with letting go of a past traumatic event that has lived with me every step of the way since it occurred. An event that has been the culprit of a river of tears, a thorn in my side and of forever dying. Since the death of someone I loved very, very much, I held onto the roses that were placed atop her casket for years. Every time I looked at the roses, everything I felt from that day would emerge from the depths of my soul and sweep me away. Drown me in sorrow. I could not display them, nor could I hide them away. I tried relentlessly to throw them out, but could never muster up the courage because I felt that if I did, I was erasing a significant event. Those roses meant she was still there with me when she was not. She did not embody the roses.

The roses were the last encounter I had of her and I did not want to let her go. It took years, but I finally realized her death was not mine, and it did not have to be. I lived as if I was dying every day because her death haunted me, and I missed her so bad. To move forward, I had to let her go and let go of the pain I had been harboring inside and experience the emotions I had been repressing all along. You cannot hide from the past, but you cannot live there either.

Unsplash image by Francisco Moreno

Originally published: February 18, 2021
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