Every Ending Is a New Beginning
Beginnings are full of promise, aren’t they? Filled with anticipation and hope, we launch into a new career, a new home, a new relationship or, as now, a new year.
But death and grief are about endings. We mourn what was. We’re sucked into a vortex, unwilling at first to believe we’ll be happy again. But I assure you, there’s hope ahead.
It’s been said that every ending is a new beginning, and I’ve found that to be true. We often focus on the ending, though. On what was lost. On what will never be again. And that is grief.
We must mourn unhappy endings to get past them. Of course, we have the choice not to fully grieve and to distract ourselves instead. But if we hope to achieve joy equal to our sorrow, we must grasp grief’s hand and cry. For as long as it takes.
I got married three months before my mother died. She was terminally ill and unable to come to the wedding. After the reception, my husband and I visited her at her home. I wanted her to see me in my wedding dress. I wish I’d insisted on a photo, but she didn’t like her photograph taken. She’d always made herself up, but now she didn’t have the strength.
When the nurse pronounced my mother dead, I wailed and collapsed my head onto my husband’s chest. That year was full of tears. But it was also full of joy. The ending with my mother was the beginning with my husband. At 42, I’d always wanted to be married, and I finally was.
I used to spend New Year’s Eve with my parents, playing Monopoly. This year, for the first time, my husband and I hosted our two neighbors, ages 9 and 10. They lost their mother in an accident this summer. We played Stay Alive, where each player tries to protect his marbles while eliminating the challengers’ marbles, and then rented the movie Inside Out at a Redbox machine.
In the movie, we peek behind the curtain of a little girl’s mind and see the cartoon characters Joy, Sorrow, Disgust, Fear and Anger influence and control her. Joy is the primary character, and she does all she can to eliminate the impact of Sorrow on the girl. Things go haywire when Joy and Sorrow are stranded from control center and unable to effect the girl. As things reach a crisis, Joy learns that Sorrow also has an important role and must be allowed to influence the girl’s memories. That is the only way to right things.
From that day forward, the little girl created memory “balls” that weren’t purely joyful nor sorrowful anymore but a beautiful, colorful marble of a mixture of emotions. All was well again.
Our endings – our sorrows – are a part of us. What’s great is that beginnings and new joys lie ahead. They mingle and create a beautiful, balanced person, capable of identifying with others in their grief and capable of sharing and celebrating others’ joys, as well as their own.
As we stretch toward new beginnings, we build on hope. We find new reasons to live and to celebrate. We don’t forget or ignore the endings. We use them to build a different life, a new beginning, a new year, a beautiful new us.
What are you beginning? A job? A relationship? Are you adopting a new perspective? How is this helping you adapt to what came before?
Copyright © 2018 by Toni Lepeska. All rights reserved. http://www.tonilepeska.com