Learning to let go on the great roller coaster of life
My coworker, my friend, suffered a terrible tragedy. Over the weekend, her sister took her own life.
We are a small office of less than 20 people. We don’t do backstabbing or politics. We like each other and are genuinely friendly both in and out of the office. We know each other’s spouses, parents, children and siblings by name. We met our coworker’s sister. She was a bright, funny woman who loved animals and singing. We are grieving with our coworker. Our friend.
All day I found myself periodically choking back tears imagining the horrible pain she and her family is going through. It is unfathomable to me.
Only two days ago, I wrote about the close bond between sisters, and my coworker certainly shared such a bond with hers. They were roommates. When they weren’t working, they were together.
I think of her parents. The pain. The guilt (undoubtedly there whether deserved or not). The emotional wreckage. The baggage. The second guessing. The hyper-analyzing of words recently said, as well as those those that were not. The horrible void that will never be filled. The tears that will always flow.
I ache for them with every cell. I can imagine nothing worse than losing a child, and even more so in such a senseless, sudden way.
I came home from work last night and wrapped myself around my daughters, trying to fold them into me, make them part of me again so that I can protect them, keep them happy and warm and safe and by my side so that I can watch over them now and always. Thoughts of them growing up and away from me present too many fears and worries to count.
* * *
When I was girl, I loved to ride roller coasters – the old wooden ones were the best. I’d ride them over and over, but could never completely let go – literally. I’d cling to the safety bar in front of me while other riders sat with their arms in the air, waving to friends on the ground below as they plummeted through space, nothing holding them in but a regular old seat belt and that one thin bar. They trusted that they’d still be in those seats when the coaster ascended its trough on the other side. I’m not sure I ever did.
I know someday I’ll have to let go on this crazy ride called motherhood. I’ll have to release my fear and trust that I’ve built a bar strong enough to keep my daughters in their seats even when they fall through space. I’ll have to trust that no matter how dramatic the fall, they’ll come up on the other side, with me standing on the ground below, waving, hoping, praying.