Norma Jean Dunning
It's a universal truth, everything must end.
Days end. Seasons end. Lives end. Relationships end. Friendships end. Jobs end. Movies end. TV shows end. There's a finale to everything we know.
I think the uncertainty of when it all ends is the problem. I'm here at the end of many things, yet again, and I'm just trying to make sense of why. Why are these endings hurting?
This is Us has concluded and I knew that would be sad. This show has had a powerful impact on me. It has helped me to deal with a number of things growing up and also preparing me for things to come. So, yes. I see why this hurts. It's not just for a show, characters, lives I've watched deal with tragedy and heartache and pain. It's about all of those situations I connected with, that I've endured, that are to come. So again yes. This makes sense. However, it shouldn't be having this much power over me. What else is weighing me down?
Death. The ultimate end. There are so many emotions swirling around death that I'm dealing with. My aunt passed over the weekend. There's relief for she is no longer in pain. And there is sadness for all those who knew her far better than I. Then I think about the inevitable situation where I will be in the position as my cousins now. Planning a funeral, taking care of accounts and bills, packing up a life that raised me to be who I am. I fall right back into a hole I tried to fill with avoidance, drink, rash decisions, really anything, but what I really need. Acceptance and closure. Nothing could prepare me to lose a parent at 22. Nothing prepared me on how to deal with everything that comes with death. Not for those who died, but those left behind. I still have a lot of work to do with these emotions. But again, it's still not everything. Getting closer, but not done yet.
Let's see if you can follow the logic here.
Take a young girl and have her move every three to five years throughout her entire life, until she becomes an adult. As she grows, making friends becomes something that she avoids because why take the chance when she'll be leaving anyways. She just doesn't know when. But, after a year with the same people, she begins to open up, branching out, making friends, finding enjoyment in clubs and activities. Thinking this time it'll be okay. She'll stay. She comes home on some random day and her parents need to talk. She's moving to a different state, a different school, a different life. She leaves next week. No time for real goodbyes. No time for final memories. Friends now become pen pals until the letters, emails, texts stop coming. So, why bother?
Now fast forward this young girl to a woman who has had some pretty crappy years. She thinks she's found connections, friendships, family that will be around for a while. She thinks even the rest of her life. That dream is shattered.
So, this woman sits in an apartment alone, with work as her only connection to people. But, she's not going to stay long. She'll move on to something else, somewhere else. No need to make friends. No need to build connections. There's no point. It won't last. Then someone starts to take notice. Someone says hi. Someone starts to reach out. This woman decides, maybe, just maybe, this could work. So, she begins to open up. She begins to show her colors and personality. And it starts to feel like this time it really will be okay. Until it's not.
This woman is moved to a different part of the building. Away from her friends. Away from the connections she's developing. Away from the constant that has kept her level over the past year. She knows this move will change everything she was building.
This woman is about to turn 34, but she falls right back into being that little girl who was just told she was leaving her friends, her school, her life and she has to start all over. So, tell me, what was the point?
That woman is me. The hurt I'm feeling goes back to not feeling like I have any real connections anymore. What can I do to fix this?
I'll tell you what I won't do. I won't fill the void with toxic relationships. I won't fill the void with drink or avoidance. I won't fill the void with food or reckless decisions.
A year ago, that's exactly what I did. I'm stronger know. I'm learning. The fact that I can navigate my emotions to something I can name is truly something else entirely.
So back to what will I do? I'll sit in this feeling and know that it won't last. And take comfort in knowing I'm going to be okay. I've been through all this before.