While I am not a huge believer in time as a marker, I do like to look back and recognise where I was then, to where I am now.
I have learned that time doesn’t heal, nor does time lessen the gravity of some acts. We just become tougher, our skins thicker, and the banks of our mind build up, keeping the grief channelled. Nevertheless, it is permissible to stop going straight, to turn back and find yourself back on the most painful corner of your life. The place you promised to leave, never to stand again, under the street light of grief and depression.
Is going back such a bad thing, if it is only to prove that you survived? When you stood on that corner, after the event, did you think you would be here now? Alive and amazing. Tougher yes, but emotionally fitter, your coping skills worked out. So what if you needed someone or something to get you through this time, you made it. Yes, you did.
This is what I think when I remember the Great Depression of 2009. I had forgotten to smear the blood of the lamb on my door, as the GFC came home to roost, and the Angel of Depression flew past and shat all over me. I would lie in my bed and wonder if I would ever be happy again, not in a dramatic way, no, I was genuinely curious. It was as though all experiences of being happy had vanished and become extinct; like the Dodo Bird or Tom Cruise’s sex appeal.
I tried to pull memories from happier times but all I could think of were places, markers or landmarks that where indicators of places where I may have been happy; Lygon Street, South Melbourne beach, Vic Avenue Bookstore, the Botanical Gardens. When I revisit these places there is a feeling that comes over me, the memory of a street corner I once used to stand on, waiting to be rescued. These places aren’t ruined for me, but when I revisit them, it’s akin seeing someone you once used to love and are still fond of, in a detached sort of way but don’t stick around long to remember too much.
There are significant moments in our life of pure abasement, where you need the pain to stop or else you will stop it, with dire results. The death of a friend, parent, child, sibling, violence, heartbreak, abandonment, extreme stress, betrayal and destruction feature highly on people’s lists of the worst plights. Some of us survive these, we get through, albeit battle scarred and weary.
It is two years on. Life is changed and so am I. A very different Christmas has come to pass this year. The tree is up, but in a different place in my house and heart. It greets me as I walk through the door, shiny, smelling of pine and optimism.
We got through it. We did. We survived and we will do so again. Go back to the corner and remember how dire the view was, to how bright it is now. It may not look like you thought it would but I bet it’s gorgeous.
Exactly where you are meant to be. But don’t stay too long, just enough to mark the past and celebrate the future.
Merry Christmas all.