Imagine you are a piece of Velcro, the sticky side, not the soft side.
Now imagine there is a cotton ball stuck to you. Got the image?
This cotton ball is your current relationship. When your current relationship ends….that is to say you break up, they die etc. it is like someone violently pulls this cotton ball away from your Velcro. Where does the cotton ball go? I don’t know. It ceases to exist. It falls into the emotional landfill with other discarded things, lost keys, bad poetry, Myspace pages. But it defies the laws of physics, and is gone.
So what you’re left with is a bunch of stringy pieces of pure cotton all tangled in your Velcro exterior. These are the left behinds of the relationship, the raw emotions. The memory of the awesome first date you had right alongside the way they never like bacon. It is with this image in mind that you begin the process of grief.
For awhile you pretend the cotton ball will come back, it will be different, better now that it has been stretched out. You pretend the cotton ball is still there, inexplicably invisible. You try to find the cotton ball and smash yourself back on it. In the case of the break up, this is typically when regrettable texts are sent. You make promises, maybe even beg. You definitely consider begging. You plead. You pray. This runs it’s course and/or you receive a restraining order.
Next you get super angry at everything around you. Stupid, tiny interferences that you could normally laugh off are huge, life destroying, catastrophes. For example, you discover a tiny honey bee in the kitchen and annihilate it with so much Raid flying insect spray that you probably should replace the butcher block below the death scene. Auto correct makes you capable of murder. You drop things a lot and curse at the air and at strangers in traffic. Take a minute and look over. Those strangers are often sad pieces of Velcro too, little dangling pieces of raw cotton in various stages of release as well. But God forbid you see a Velcro with its cotton ball securely attached. F-them. They must be miserable, or they made a bargain with the devil. Or they are fake. You stop believing in legitimate attachment.
Since none of that is working, you might try to shove a new cotton ball on to fill in the empty space that was once interlocked with your plastic tendrils. But alas, you’re all fuzzy and spent and there’s no way for anything to lock in, no real space for new cotton balls. They awkwardly fall off. And quite frankly, these are not the most absorbent cotton balls in the bag-if you get my drift.
So you sob. Remember the horrific, unattractive seal barking cry? It’s happening now. There’s nothing more to do. You’ll have to give up. You are certain you’ll never love again. Ever. You Throw yourself on the bed, lay on the kitchen floor. Wonder If anyone has died of crying. Wallow away the last of your days in a slobbery, wet mess.
One day, you’re so exhausted from the doubting and the bargaining, the yelling at random passers by, the noisy embarrassing crying and the intense desire to become one with the ceramic tile in your kitchen that you just have to stop for a moment. Be Still. Maybe notice what the pulling away has left behind. See the mess, maybe for the first time.
It’s about this time I’m reminded of the children’s song, ” going on a bear hunt”. In the song/chant as “you” are going on a bear hunt you encounter various obstacles, a river, a tree, a monsoon, a gaggle of turtles ( have I mentioned I don’t remember details well?) anyway you have to figure out how to pass by these obstacles to go forward to kill that bear. (Side note…some children’s songs seem to contain an alarming amount of violence to be songs for CHILDREN). Any way- with the river ” can’t go above it, can’t go under it, gotta go through it”. Gotta go through it.
You can’t rip it off, you can’t replace it, you can’t beat up inanimate objects, or spray an entire bottle of Raid to kill it, it’s just gonna hurt until it doesn’t.
Days go by and I think of this, As I free fall, topsy-turvy into the grief abyss. I can go through all the stages, the bargaining, the sadness the anger and arrive neatly at acceptance by sundown only to discover, its not done. The sun rises and or that stupid Christine Aguilara song comes on the radio and it’s back to the beginning, or the middle beginning or someplace not at the end. But as a veteran of the heart break war, I know ill get to the next end. I will get there by sitting down and pulling those raw pieces of cotton out, one by one. And its going to take some time, after all I’m made of Velcro and a freaking cotton ball was ripped away from me.
There are no shortcuts… Gotta go through it.