Endings and beginnings
It is the time of year when endings abound. Children finish school, terms end; birds fledge their nests, the longest day has been and the garden, whilst still abundant, is no longer quite as vibrant.
But without endings there is no beginning, and endings painful as they are, need to be gone through in order that something fresh and new can take its place. It may never be quite the same as before, but that doesn’t mean it is worse, or better, but simply different. I have just forced myself to cut some of the old growth in my garden back, it was strange to do as there was still plenty of colour, but I am assured that to cut back now will bring fresh new growth. And so with life. If we can let go of the old and trust that something can begin again, we will allow ourselves to go to places so far unknown.
People avoid endings for many reasons, but the main one is the inability to face the goodbye. I know of someone who after a relationship ended, immediately became engaged to and moved in with someone new. This suggests, that either the pain of loss at an ending could not be thought through, and so the only way out was to deny the previous relationships importance by immediately finding someone new.
With therapy we would always work towards an ending, and at the end, it is interesting how some people will leave without a backward glance whilst others seek the handshake, or the hug the has been up until then not part of the work.
Endings are a marker, they allow a moving on, a new chapter to begin, and it is not a denial of what has been but a celebration, it is why funerals are so important and that whatever the age of the people involved, it allows a goodbye.
And whilst endings mark the end of something, it also does not mean the memory cannot hold on to the experience of that person, I always say to patients that just as a boat goes over the horizon it does not mean that simply because it has disappeared it is no longer there, but just no longer is able to be seen.
And so with an ending of any sort, it is about the ability to hold in your heart your memories, and keep them close. Eventually there will be a new beginning, and that as with the endless seasons we find that something else has grown, it may be different to before but without the ending there would just be a lingering shadow, growth indicates a new beginning, and that is life’s full circle at work.
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