Learning to Let it Go

In early January, I started crafting a blog post about letting go. Messages were coming at me from many different sources about letting go of what can’t be changed and accepting what is. To acknowledge pain, sadness, or anger, but also to let them go. It’s fascinating to me when messages you need to hear seem to come from everywhere!

From Kathy at Smartliving365, (link here) I heard the messages of “accept the reality of the situation – remember nothing in the past can be changed because you didn’t like it or didn’t want it to happen”.  And to “breathe, accept that it happened, acknowledge the painful emotions that might arise, and then let them pass through you?”

An article in Real Simple magazine talked about Emotional Gaslighting or “telling yourself that you have so much to be grateful for and no right to be sad.” They talked about the need to feel the pain (frustration, irritation, resentment, anxiety, negative emotion) in order to heal it. By avoiding the negative emotions, they do not go away.  Understand the core “why” behind the feeling and address that – ask for help, forgiveness, etc. But, “feel them to heal them.” 

A number of bloggers in January talked about what to let go of in the New Year instead of resolutions to do things.  Marc and Angel (link here) talked about knowing what to embrace and what to let go of.  The embrace is the to-do list. The let go of is the to-don’t list.  I loved how they specifically talked about “all the ‘bad’ or ‘stupid’ things you’ve done have been forgiven and forgotten by almost everyone who matters in your life, except you!”  That it is time to just look at yourself in the mirror and say, ‘It did happen. It was bad judgment. It was a terrible mistake! It’s time for forgiveness.”

In January I was working on letting go of what I thought my life was “supposed to be”, releasing the pain of (beating myself up for) making mistakes, and looking to simply appreciate what is.  All that focus on letting go is certainly helping me right now as I work though my grieving process. Link here to the post talking about my unexpected change of events.

The grieving process is different for everyone.  What I’ve found to be fascinating is how the ways recommended to help Let Go are surprising similar to the tools for Coping with Grief.

  • Do things that make you happy. Within my grieving journey, that means a return to routine and structure – it’s my comfort zone. Yet, I cannot find it in me to do any group planning.
  • Journal about your feelings and even more importantly – accept them  – the anger, the guilt, the desire for forgiveness, old resentments, unfulfilled wishes, judgmental thoughts, hurts, sadness. And yes, gratitude, appreciations, and positive moments. As I am an avid journal keeper, there is a lot going on here.
  • Take time to be quiet and reflect. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t just distract yourself with the busy work of the to-do list (Hah!) Allow others to help and accept their tender loving care.
  • Keep taking care of yourself with these five important things:  hydrate, eat healthy, exercise, sleep, socialize (with a supportive uplifting social network)
  • Breath work.  For me that means to restart my yoga practice.
  • Write a closure letter (or series of letters). Tell your story. Ask for forgiveness. Give forgiveness. Find aspects to be grateful for in what happened, find good in the bad.
  • Find solace in positive memories. What positive gifts did I receive?  Spend time remembering the stories of love.

I’m very much in the guilt and anger stage of grief. Memories are painful. I found this thought powerful:

” Letting it go… it doesn’t mean you’re okay with what happened or didn’t happen. What you did or didn’t do. What you said or didn’t say. It means you are accepting life now and letting the past be the past – what is and what was. It is refusing to stay locked in anger, guilt, self-blame. It means not letting the past (which cannot be changed) ruin the present. Move forward, slowly if needed.  But let it go – release what is weighing you down.”

Letting go is often easier said than done, but I am working on it, day by day.

The pain of your loss would not be so intense if your love was not so strong.

Picture Credit: My niece; Mom’s final sunset

Copyright © 2023 retirementtransition.blog – All rights reserved.

17 thoughts on “Learning to Let it Go

  1. Sending love during this challenging time, Pat. I did appreciate the tools for letting go, which as you pointed out are useful for working through grief. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, since grieving a lost loved one is one form of letting go. Continue to be gentle on yourself and take your time. I will be thinking of you.


  2. Hi Pat, you’ve been very observant to ‘see’ all the messages coming your way. Grief can be overwhelming and all consuming but it sounds like you’re trying to take care of yourself as you navigate through it all. Sending you big hugs and hoping you find your way to “Letting it go” at your own pace 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comments. I’m trying to not let it be all consuming – my organization skills are helping me compartmentalize things. Although I’ve noticed my brain goes to mush a bit more easily. Just today I could not find a set of paperwork… didn’t recall I had filed it, without the supporting documents. Moments like that spiral me… and so, here I am looking at blog comments to get some virtual hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Heartfelt condolences on the loss of your mom. My mother suffered with dementia and those last years of her life were so hard to see her slipping away. I know that pain. I wish you peace as you grieve.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m listening to Richard E Grant’s book at the moment and it talks about finding a pocketful of happiness in every day. Grief is different for everyone – and that’s absolutely ok. Take care and take the time you need.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jo, I am trying to find those moments of happiness each day, which I agree helps. Part of my struggle is I’m also dealing with the financial side of things, being the executor. That’s a huge project, when my brain goes to mush too often. But hearing from my blogging buddies is helping me keep perspective on things!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Pat – this is such a sad time for you and I think you need to allow yourself to walk through that. I sometimes think that death cheats us in the fact that we don’t get closure on some of the dangling threads left behind…..and we need to find a way to work through that (it will be different for each of us). No relationship is perfect, but the fact that you loved your mum so deeply, wanted to care for her, and had put so much in place to do so, speaks volumes on why the grieving process will take time. If it didn’t, it would have been a very shallow relationship. Wishing you well as you take time to nurture yourself and find your new normal. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leanne, thanks for your insight. “Dangling threads” is definitely one element for me, as is “unlived moments”, the plans I had just put into place. Those plus some other things need to be worked through… and I know it will take some time. I hope my blog posts don’t all become dealing with grief posts… I might need to take a break from blogging, but I’d miss the connection and support. Virtual hugs do help!


  6. As you say, it’s easier said than done. Be kind to yourself, Pat. This grief work will take longer than you think, usually measured in months & years, not days & weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I hope writing your heartfelt post and knowing your followers care can ease your pain a bit. Letting go is a path and sounds like you’re on your way. I’m so much like you in many ways — the way we work to construct and shape our retirement life as our mission — but having had my own grief journey I learned that looking ahead rather than back helped me. And letting go found me.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pat, the struggle is real. I wish I had great words of wisdom to impart on you but I don’t. I do however, have faith that you will find your way through all of this. I know you will do the work, the research, the soul searching, and the analyzing necessary to get through this. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I’m here if you want to talk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Candyse, Thanks for the verbal support. I’m “doing the work”, although compartmentalizing some and trying to not beat myself for that. I know I’m kinda “late to the party” – so many of my friends have dealt with their own mother’s passing. But it’s also good to hear their perspective to find my own way through it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s