It had been seven months since I’d had any contact with anyone from my biological family and I was doing pretty good. Sure, I missed some of them, but I had resigned myself to the fact that because I continued to talk about my past, none of them would be in my future, and they confirmed that over Christmas.
The confirmation came in the form of emails and they were pretty nasty.
After I finished reading the emails, I tried my hardest not let them ruin mine and Gary’s (my husband’s) Christmas. I told myself that the people that wrote the emails don’t know the truth; that they’re speaking out of ignorance, and there was no way I was going to continue to let it get to me. Instead I would make it the topic of my next therapy appointment, which was only days away, and I went back to trying to enjoy Christmas with Gary.
When the day for my appointment finally came, I printed off the emails, read them over the second time, and then stuffed them into my purse. The words ripped through my heart just like they did on Christmas day, but I tried not to let them get to me. Instead, I kept telling myself that I needed to discuss them with Paul; my therapist, and he would know what to do.
When I got to Paul’s office, he welcomed me in and offered me a seat across from him, which I took and before he could ask me how things had been going, I pulled the emails out of my purse and started reading them. I went straight to the nastiest parts of the correspondence and as I shared the venomous words before me, he shook his head and said that my past has nothing to do with the people that sent the emails, and that I needed to ignore them. He reminded me that continuing to involve myself in this kind of drama wasn’t helpful in my recovery. Not only that, he reminded me that the negativity was incredibly damaging to my health and as I stared back at him with my right eye bulging from the recurrence of central serous retinopathy (CSR), I realized that he was right.
Paul went on to say that I needed to stop worrying about other people and start taking care of me and he pointed to the emails I had in my hands and said, “Let go of the balloons.”
As the words spilled from his lips, they hit me the same way as when he told me to ask myself “What do I know for sure” when I’m catastrophizing. It was a huge epiphany and I knew those words were going to help me to move forward, especially when those words reminded me about a good memory from my past.
The memory was from years ago; my oldest daughter had just turned three years old, and all she wanted for her birthday was to release balloons into the air and watch them float away. So I asked Cheryl, one of my best friends to help me fill some balloons with helium, and then we watched as my daughter released them into the air. It was one of those profound moments that you never forget; being with loved ones and doing something that created such joy for everyone. My daughter was overjoyed, and I remember watching her wave her hands up and down with excitement, almost like she was trying to fly along with the balloons.
It was a great memory, and I still remember Cheryl and I standing there with my oldest, watching as the balloons floated away and disappeared into the horizon. Consequently, when Paul said that I needed to let go of the balloons, it took me back to that moment in time and I knew I could use his words as a mantra to help me move forward because that was such a joyous time in my life.
Going forward, I’m going to let go of the balloons…
I’m going to work (really hard) at letting go of the bad parts of my past and remembering the good…
And I’m going to start taking care of me and stop worrying about people that don’t know any of the facts.
Stay safe, stay strong and remember to let go of the balloons. Thanks for following.