The summer after my son died, I got a massage. I was naked on the table ready to beginWrite with Me Wednesday writing prompt: letting go and Courtney asked me to do a brief visualization before we got started.

“Imagine all your fears and worries and sadness are a bunch of balloons. Put the balloons outside the door. Tie them up. They’ll be right there when you come out, but leave them out there for now.”

I began to cry lightly. I’m not sure why. Was I afraid to let go of the fears and sadness? Was I relieved to put them down for a while? Did it feel that strange to even try to leave them briefly?

I knew grief was a long, convoluted process, but it took me a while to learn that letting go is a multi-step process too.

I let go of my expectations.

I let go of Henry’s spirit and then his body.

I let go of stuff he used and stuff he never did.

I let of the need to remind people that I’m sad and hurting.

And I learned that sometimes letting go is really just loosening your grip a little.

When Courtney is done with the massage, I moved slowly. I felt lighter and looser, but drained. And when we stepped out the door, she was right, my fears and sorrows were right there waiting for me.

I thought how good it would feel to take them outside and let go of the string, watch them float up into the sky away from me. Hard to imagine they float at all. But I held tight to the string, not ready to loosen my grasp, somehow reluctant to release the anxiety fully, afraid of losing the joy and the love that might be tangled up in it.

Since that day, I’ve loosened my grasp, let go of more, found that what I want to hold onto isn’t so easily lost. Still, I see those balloons hovering ahead of me in the darkness of mid-December and I wonder what else I can let go of.

 What have you let go of? What would you like to let go of? What stops you?