Letting Go and Moving On

October 19 , 2019 . By Tsion Fisseha

I have written before about the nature of human beings and their characteristics associated with being social animals. Part of being a human being and living in a community as a social animal is welcoming the two aspects of life: the hellos and goodbyes. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I have recently experienced the latter.

This experience, like many others, has brought me to self-realisation. Some things in life are somehow inevitable. And regardless of the situation one is put in, he or she is bound to experience the joy in the greetings and the pain in the goodbyes. From friends to families and co-workers to TV shows, country leaders and bad habits, human beings both physically and emotionally adhere to these phenomena one way or another.

However, despite the occurrence and re-occurrence of these phenomena, they somehow always carry with them a sense of newness and the feeling attached to them almost always seems to be brand new.

Nicholas Sparks in one of his famous books The Notebook is quoted with the following statement made by one of the fictitious characters “The reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls are connected. Maybe they always have been and will be. Maybe we've lived a thousand lives before this one, and in each of them, we've found each other. And maybe each time, we've been forced apart for the same reasons. That means that this goodbye is both a goodbye for the past ten thousand years and a prelude to what will come.”

Separation, even in the most mundane form, can cause a heart to break. It can also be faced with resistance just like in the case of bidding farewell to loved ones who have recently deceased.

Social analysts suggest that even the most stable social networks are not immune to change. And this change could be met with an immense amount of sadness due to various reasons. One of the reasons for this heartbreak is the role of the person who has departed or is in the process of departing. This person could have played the role of a daughter, a best friend, a confidant and a mentor. By being so, this person might have filled various gaps in someone else’s life.

According to research done at the University of California, Los Angeles, MRIs have revealed strong activity in pain-processing areas of the brain when women saw photos of their relatives or grief-related words. The findings could mean that the brains of women with complicated grief have not properly adjusted to the fact that their loved ones are gone.

The second reason could be attributed to seeking one’s own comfort in the life of others. This measures the level of co-dependency between the two parties. Author Mark Manson says, “Every loss is a partial loss of who you are.” He also goes on to explain the silver lining in the loss of a loved one either through death or through distance. One piece of advice he gives is “Invest in your relationship with yourself.”

More interesting, however, are the words used at times of farewell. Heart-filling and warming statements that are used for appreciation, words as a token of the gratitude one feels toward the person who is leaving. These words, regardless of their timing, act as both anchors and floaters for the emotionally-overwhelmed traveler.

People are often caught saying, “What is so good about goodbyes?”

To this, one can say despite the goodness or badness of the parting, given its frequency in one’s life, getting good at "letting go and moving on" should serve as a catalyst in the healing process.

PUBLISHED ON Oct 19,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1016]

Tsion Fisseha is a writer and head of foreign languages in the news department at a local TV station. She has been a part of a pan African poetry slam competition representing Ethiopia and is a member of a rock band entitled the Green Manalishi. She can be reached at [email protected]

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