January 14, 2021
It’s now been two weeks since you left and I’ve been sitting here with continued discomfort and uncertainty. My heart is searching for the meaning in our tumultuous time together and I wanted to write you this letter when I felt ready. You know I’m not a woman to simply react on my emotions, so I needed time to sit with them before I approached you. I can’t believe I’ve had more tears to shed for you, but – alas – they are pouring from my heart onto this letter I’m writing.
I have to admit, I don’t feel as good as I thought I would after our severance. All this space has left me with a ball of anxiety and it’s unsettling! I hoped our splitting would suddenly alleviate the pressure, anxiousness, and uncertainty… all of which are relentlessly persistent in this world! Every time I settle into the uncertainty, the ground gets pulled from under my feet again. It’s exhausting. Yoga, prayer, meditation, breathing practices… I’m using ALL my tools. I’m getting there. I really am. But I just HAVE to release some of what I’m feeling.
I realized I needed to write to you when I started blaming you over and over again for the world’s grief and turmoil. I kept cussing at you under my breath and I didn’t really feel this was fair to you, nor to myself. The Buddha says hanging onto anger is like holding onto a hot coal and I’ve been acutely aware of the burning in my hands at times. This awareness has been painful, but also necessary and beautiful. I only feel it’s fair I alleviate you of the burden and fault I’ve put on you these past few months. I want to fire you as my scapegoat.
When I first sat to write, I wanted to tell you I despised you for ruining SO MANY things. I’ve held onto resentment after resentment as I’ve experienced cancellations of important events – birthday celebrations, weddings, baby showers, Christmas Eve gatherings with ALL MY FAVORITE PEOPLE, Taco Tuesday with a margarita in hand. I have felt sadness and anger seeping through my heart as I’ve experienced and supported others through loved ones passing away, trauma beyond comprehension, suicides, injustices, unemployment. I kept shaking my fist at you, pleading for you to JUST LEAVE US ALONE! At times, it’s seemed to be too much to bear. I think this is why I wanted to keep blaming you… blaming something. It has just feel too uncomfortable to hold onto all this grief myself.
The weird thing is, as I was writing to tell you all the things you did wrong, I realized there was so much you taught me through the process. You showed me I was never actually ALONE in this grief after all. You showed me how much community means to me and how interconnected we are. You showed what a ‘call to action’ can look like in the face of adversity and grief. You showed me comfort and security in ways I’ve denied myself in the past. And so, I’ve sat… and sat… and sat… observing all these feelings rising and falling within me, around me. I’ve felt them settling down more… and more… with each passing day. I feel like my InstaPot on natural release, just letting the steam escape from my heart and mind. The grip around me is releasing as I realize of all you gave me. Under all the yucky feelings, I am finally seeing you taught me invaluable lessons.
It’s taking a lot for me to say this, 2020. My ego is on overdrive, but I’m setting it aside for now. It’s time to release my feelings so I may reach further clarity, no matter how vulnerable or uncomfortable it may feel. Honestly, I think you deserve it, too. It’s been rough going for the both of us.
So, this is my cathartic release. This is my emotional shedding. It’s my way of cleansing, clarifying, and releasing through writing. It’s really the only way I know how to process, so thank you for listening to me.
Here I go, 2020… This one is for you…
I remember our early days together. The elation I felt when we met in January was wonderful, magical, and pure. We were ready to conquer the year! Remember skiing in Colorado’s white, fluffy snow? Or connecting with other Physical Therapists at the Combined Sections Meeting in Denver? Gosh, it felt like the world was OURS, didn’t it? We had one magical weekend outside of Mount Rainier National Park in March, just when everything started changing. I remember coming home after a night in the backcountry to see the news. Shutdowns were starting. The world as we knew it was turning dark. And I felt YOU were to blame…
When you gave me loss, I didn’t forgive you at first. Loss came in many forms and it felt like a constant monsoon… with no umbrella to keep me dry. You made it so hard to move forward. You shattered me with tears and grief and I felt as if I’d never be free from the turmoil. The whole world would get dark every time I turned my eyes to the sadness. I was at the bottom of a well, wishing someone would throw me a rope to escape. Every time I tried to distract, it didn’t work. I’d blink my eyes and the pain would come flashing across me and into me. This is where you taught me to hold my grief gently with compassion. You helped me to welcome the grief, to feel it whole heartedly so it may soften and drift away. I learned to treat myself kindly, recognizing climbing out of a well of emotions is non-linear and does not follow a pattern. I threw the stages of grief out the window, willing to meet myself were I was each day. Willing to welcome the tears when they came – in the shower, while prepping a meal, while laughing with a friend. The tears came. As I shed layers of grief, letting go of people and things, you reminded me how beautiful our human connection is. You showed me how special it is to be connected with others – no matter how brief it may be. Every moment matters.
Thank you for showing me the beautiful transience of our human life and experience.
Through the discomfort and pain, you showed me how connection and empathy can mend our hearts. Without being able to hug (one of my love languages), I got creative with connections. You connected me with my loved ones via FaceTime, Google Meet, Snapchat, Tabletop Simulator, JackboxTv, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, and more. We played games from afar, laughing through the discomfort and uncertainty of life. We had difficult and vulnerable conversations, shedding layers of judgement, past conditioning, and limiting belief systems. Sometimes, we disagreed, but we always found a way to communicate. You gifted us so much time, allowing freedom in how we used our time together.
Thank you for breathing room into my life, allowing space for deep connections.
As more intention and planning went into connections, you also taught me to manage who I am willing to let into my heart. If someone no longer met my expectations, I was more willing to let them go. I opened my heart to those who were deserving. I shared my passions and goals with people who supported me and loved me truly.
As I cleaned out people who were less deserving of my time, I opened space for new connections. You showed me how patience can yield beautiful possibilities. With the perfect synchronicity of plans that were canceled and things weren’t, I aligned with someone quite special. You have opened my heart to something truly beautiful and, for this, I am deeply grateful. Through difficult times and many transitions, we have explored the depths of our potential. It wouldn’t have been possible if things went the way we individually planned… but I feel THIS way is the best way.
Thank you for showing me serendipity can come in the most unexpected times.
When I could not be present with others, you helped me find a way to be present with myself and welcome mindfulness practices back into my life. I was mindful with my mornings, waking up more slowly and enjoying a special breakfast of pancakes while I read a book. I meditated and did breathing practices. I am thankful I had this time to reconnect with my source. Through this, I found the power of faith and spirituality as the ground I could always stand on – the beliefs I could always lean on to provide me with stability and comfort.
Thank you for helping me move forward with a heart of love and faith.
When local guidelines governed further shutdowns, you showed me the power of innovation. Once I could no longer perform my job as a Pediatric Physical Therapist in person, teamwork and innovation was at the epicenter of my work. My coworkers and I began providing telemedicine services for our patients. We went from seeing 100% of a caseload in person to doing projects on Microsoft Teams and seeing patients on Zoom. What was anticipated as a possible disaster was incredibly smooth and successful. (I think it was because of my trusted coworker, Donald Duck… hehe.)
Thank you for showing me passion and teamwork can drive innovation.
With more time spent at home, you reminded me how important it is to feel safe and secure within my walls. Having been in many tumultuous living situations, you helped me to stay centered on my needs at home. I kept my Christmas tree up until the end of March (changing decorations for Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day, of course) and was intentional in my search for a new apartment in Boston. My home is my sanctuary and you helped me to remember how much it means to be cozy. As I look around my home, I am reminded of all the pieces of me I love and appreciate.
Thank you for reminding me I can feel cozy and safe.
When the outside world was too much to process, you reconnected me with my creative flow. I was reminded that it’s okay to play and have fun – to see what’d come from meeting my pencil and brush to paper, fingers to a keyboard, or pen to my journal. I found ways to get creative in the kitchen, by perfecting thee art of popping popcorn on the stove, cooking Italian meals, and making eggs benedict (my most missed meal out!).
Thank you for helping me play with creativity in every day life.
I started taking a lot of things more lightly. Playing more. With movement and my free time. You helped me to alleviate a lot of pressure on myself. As someone who tends to “go, go, go,” you allowed me to rest. You allowed me to spend an entire weekend at home to cook, read, write, color, and ride my bicycle. I wasn’t doing any alpine 4am starts to rush off somewhere. While this was missed, I really appreciated the slow down. I read more books than I ever have (including my first Stephen King novel… in like THREE DAYS. 10/10 recommend The Outsider!). I allowed myself to just…be. Without pressure. With only love and compassion.
Thank you for teaching me to be gentle with myself.
Thank you for teaching me the impermanence of not just my human life, but also my human experience. Everything is temporary. The hurt, the beauty. Nothing can be for certain and everything is unknown. Thank you for showing me that worrying yields no results and letting go of control is the way towards living a life of love and compassion.
You’ve heightened my awareness of my vulnerabilities. With you, I’ve cracked open more than before – seeing the vastness in my heart and mind. Sometimes, peering into the depths of my emotions and thoughts can be dark and painful, but you’ve showed me it’s worth it to sit with the darkness a little while. It’s comforting here. It’s a blanket of love. It’s a blanket of self-compassion and gentleness that whispers:
“You are safe, you are okay, you are here, darling.”
I am here. I made it. With you, 2020. I made it with you and into the next phase, the next transition. You showed me so much this year and I now know the healing is never done and the uncertainty will never fade. I will stay here, without you, moving through all the discomfort as I continue to grow, expand, and explore the lengths to which I can love and connect – with myself and others.
Thank you, 2020. You have truly given me so much.
I wish you the best in your future.
With love and gratitude always,