BY HOLLEY HYLER
(The Spiral: A Journey Through Longing And Loss)
Old photos occupy shoeboxes, folders and closets in my home. I leave them in their dusty casings, refusing to frame or revisit them. The moments are gone; in some cases, this brings joy, and in others, great sorrow. At the heart of these emotions is a desire for peace – an awareness of its presence, or a lament for its lack.
I am numb, and simplifying all aspects of life in this manner: peace or not-peace. How many times will I go over this spiral of life, thinking that I know peace, that I am balanced, that I am healing onto I reach the center of the spiral and be blown back to the beginning?
“It is a new level,” Mother tells me, but I have no desire to play.
Mother knows that what I want in that moment, and what I will want, are two different things. She is not willful, but wise.
“Rise,” she says, for I am on my haunches, still reeling from the force that hit as I reached the center. I am reeling from the discovery of not-peace when I thought I knew peace.
I don’t want to listen. When I stagnate, I remember. I cannot choose what I remember. I can only observe it, but my mind convinces me otherwise.
Momentarily caught up in my folly, I plead with my memories. I curse them. I am immersed in them, re-living them, walking through worlds that I no longer inhabit.
I kneel next to my little-girl self, who has experienced death for the first time. She doesn’t feel me next to her. She cries and cries.
I see my teenage-girl self, asleep in her bed. Soon, she will wake and see the shapes the morning’s deceptive light makes on the wall. She will sense that something is amiss, will sense the goodbye that she never got. It will become heavier as the years go by, and she will not understand that she is grieving until much later. I go to her and run the tips of my fingers along her cheek. She doesn’t stir.
“Rise,” Mother says.
I ignore her. I see my woman self, the one who believed she knew peace. She is in the warmth of his embrace, thinking it will all be okay. She thinks that whatever they have in that moment, even if it is all they ever have, can be enough, because she has found herself. She believes she can love fully. I am still, watching them. I know what happens next.
“Please,” I say, my vision clouded by water. “Please stop.”
She is quiet, because she knows. I stay in this stillness only a moment longer before I place the memories in the dusty shoeboxes of my mind and lock them away in closets and drawers. They can neither be held nor re-created. I am becoming new in every moment, just as they are – the ones who held me, the ones who left, the ones who loved me, the ones who never did.
“One day, you will love them so much that you won’t need them anymore,” Mother promises. She offers me her hand, and I take it.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith.
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