Since Olivia died, I’ve felt hurried to “move on”. Moving on brings a picture to my mind of crying all my tears, then standing up and getting back to it. Like a pitstop - it was necessary, but now I’m good and ready to go. I fantasize about walking back into the figurative room of life, all my friends seeing me. I strongly announce, “I’m back.” “He’s back!” everyone cheers. It feels nice, but I already know - it will never happen. I’ll never say those words. Not because I'll never heal, but because the me who was, is gone. He’ll never be back. And I'm not going to pretend. But a new me is emerging. Olivia changed us. She’s forever a part of us, and we’re forever a part of her. Part of me is buried, 3 miles from my house, with my daughter, a rubber giraffe, a pumpkin rattle held together by a piece of scotch tape, and a dress my wife knit 2 years ago. Not just a part of me - the best part of me I had to offer. And part of Olivia is embedded in us. Everything we see, every song we hear, everything I write, every conversation we have, is affected by Olivia and somehow experienced with her. It’s not just her memory. It’s more than that. It’s her. Part of her is in us. Not just a part of her - the best part of her she had to offer. I would never take that part of me out of her casket. And I would never remove the part of her that’s embedded in me. Not in a million years. But it is a new reality, and I don’t know how to be this new person. Nothing feels familiar. Nothing is comfortable. I feel like an alien. All I can do is accept the change and trust the process. A new me is emerging. This is beauty from ashes. It's life. Our life. We can't "move on" from that. We wouldn't if we could. So if we're not moving on, what’s ahead for us? Hopelessness? Absolutely not. In front of us is uncertain. Like a dark room. But darkness doesn’t scare us the way it used to. In front of us is uncertain. And in front of us is Life. It’s always that way. Life is a dark room. We have to accept the uncertainty, the clumsiness of it, and walk into the darkness anyway. Life is ahead.
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