Saying No to Re-living Old Pain

Pixabay: Hans. Free for commercial use; no attribution required.I recently wrote about a friend’s suicide, an act that took place 21-years ago.  As I read a poem I’d written after his death, I sensed a character shuffling about the edges of my consciousness.  The character was carrying a cloak; a cloak of sadness, anger, guilt and despair, brought forward from those tumultuous days.

I realized this character wanted me to wear those emotions again.

It was as if this character believed there were proper responses to a suicide—no matter how long ago it had occurred—and knew the cloak carried within it acceptable ones.  Here, wear this, she said. In case of suicide, feelings of sadness, anger, guilt and despair are allowed. I was tempted.

The thing is, I didn’t want to feel those things. I looked outside my window and the sun was shining; flowers were blooming.

Donning the cloak-of-past-emotions would not change the past.

It would, however, overshadow a beautiful present with emotions completely unrelated to the now.

I didn’t want to relive those old emotions.

I had a choice. I said no to the character and her cloak.

 

Photo source: Hans on Pixabay

 


 

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19 thoughts on “Saying No to Re-living Old Pain

    1. Thanks, Eilene. I was surpised to find it lurking (great word!) and really, really happy I was able to observe it and not get tangled up in/by it. Those moments of huzza-yes! I’ve managed to grow :-)! mean a lot to me.

      Thanks for comment on my style, too! Really appreciate it.

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  1. I had a friend exit that way, never quite understanding, but do now. I often fall down a hole, but have always managed mostly through 12 Step, to climb out, but it can be iffy, scary…fight for the light someone said to me, so I pass that on to you. It’s good to talk about it. Brave, valorous. It’s becoming too much the norm and that’s a real kick in the teeth to the great creator who is probably on his cloud wringing his hands asking himself, what did I do wrong.

    Thanks Susannah

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    1. I’ve crossed paths with suicide more than once in my life, each one from a different distance. This was as close as I hope I ever get again. It was hard to see the pain on his dad’s face, who had lost his wife (my friend’s mother), to suicide. I wish all who find themselves on the edge of or in dark holes can find light. When things are dark, it’s hard to believe they will ever change. Thanks for your comment.

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      1. It’s becoming too common, and of course when it’s someone well known…Robin Williams, Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, it adds a dark glamour that the media should not press. In any event, I appreciated what you shared. I still think of my dear friend Nancy who slid over that rainbow in 2005.

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      2. “Slid over that rainbow.” I’m sorry you and friends lost her. And your description brought a comforting warmth. For your friend. Mine. Robin. Kate. Anthony. And all the others.

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      3. My friend, like Robin Williams, was sick, so at least there’s an explanation to their sad decision. The other two will forever bewilder me. They seemed to have everything…success, kids. But clearly what they didn’t have which is peace of mind. All the money and fame in the world can’t compete with a peaceful heart. sigh

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    1. Your post got me to wondering about the statue. Based on what I found, I suspect the one I used was photoshopped into the green background, because the other images I saw were all in front of buildings. The references I saw were to the “Cloak of Conscience,” “II Commendatore” (in Prague) and “Pieta” (Coat of Peace in Salzburg).

      Here’s info from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloak_of_Conscience

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      1. Henry Adams, great grandson of John Adams, in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington D.C., built a tomb to his wife Clovis, who committed suicide in 1885. Your picture looks remarkably like it. There are no dates on it but is referred to as GRIEF. Eleanor Roosevelt was known to ride her horse through the Park, stopping there to think. The writer, Gore Vidal, is buried right behind it. It’s quite stirring to see not to mention poignant. She was only 42.

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      1. I love history in any form. Though your theme was sad, it created a very interesting dialogue. Clovis Adams was more of an inspiration in death than in life. I hope somewhere in the ether, she knows that. Thanks a lot. Susannah

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  2. The responses to your post indicate you touched something deep for many people. I’m glad you reminded us that we always have a choice as to how we respond… but of course you would. You are wise that way.

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    1. Despite knowing in my head I have a choice, my characters don’t always behave as if they agree. I love having the knowledge of choice; and it’s exciting when knowledge translates into action. When I have a success, I like celebrating it in my blog; acknowledging it. Thanks for your comment and support!

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