Saturday, June 15, 2019

Moving On or Moving Forward?

Major life events are hopefully joyous, sometimes earth-shatteringly devastating, and mostly in between those emotional extremes. Transition was, for me, a combination of things in that middle range. 

Lost family, and people who I thought of as friends closer than family, who are gone because I finally acted on impulses that had driven me (mostly crazy) all my life, are always with me. I cannot forget the pain of loss even if, from their point of view, it was all my fault. These people are with me just as my grandparents, who raised me and died decades ago, are with me daily. 

My spouse of forty years who couldn't stay in love with me as a woman isn't someone I hate. Memories of our times together, places we went, and people we only knew together are always going to be part of me. The love we had is part of me.  

There is so much for me to be happy about now; including a spouse who I know inside out, and who knows me the same way and loves all of me ... wow! 

Because I have continued to live and grow since the time when loss occurred, I do not feel at all guilty for the joy I feel now. Why should I? After all, that joy has to do with all the experiences, sorrows, and happiness I had before.

So, when they see that I'm happy, some might say, "you have moved on". I've never felt that way though. Moving on seems to imply forgetting. My experience is more like moving ahead. 

Nora McInerny knows about loss at a scale none of us want to experience, and she knows about moving forward with it, and expresses these feelings and thoughts eloquently in this TED talk


  1. Hi Halle,
    A well-constructed thought about a difficult subject and the Ted Talk summed it up beautifully. This morning at Mass we were visited by our former parish priest who was talking to me afterwards about a number of things, including his golf and other matters such as suffering. The point he made, which is paradoxical, is that he has seen many people in suffering find their true self in moving on with a newfound spiritual dimension. They find GOD who is already there as opposed to any pious or move to worship we have come to associate generally with religion.
    Best wishes

  2. Golf and suffering in the same sentence? Seems appropriate somehow, but I digress ...

    Attempting to forget or push aside difficult feelings, I've found, is not only impossible, but it postpones that growth of spirit that only comes when we wrestle with, or as Brené Brown says rumble with those feelings.

    Thank you for your compliment Lindsay.

  3. Hello Deanna,

    I have struggled with this post, seemingly for days. Yet it is only hours since you made your thoughts known here. During last night, I suddenly realised that I do not see my life as a process of 'moving on' or 'moving forward'. In short, life does not seem to be about some psychological time-line which may in any event be an illusion.

    It feels to me as if there was a point in my life when I 'awoke' from my denial to find a wholly different psycho-spiritual world in which I "lived, moved and had my being." From that moment on, the track of my life has been like an upward spiral. There are moments when I appear to have turned full circle, so that there is a sense of familiarity, yet not quite so. Thus there is always a sense of arriving at the beginning, to start afresh, yet not entirely so.

    Changes continually occur, and they are not always comfortable. I think that describes the part of the spiral I am currently ascending. I can see what is [and will forever remain] below me, but not what is above me.

    Sorry, I have appeared to ramble on somewhat. My only defence is that something in what you said triggered something deep within me. Perhaps a new contact has been made. Bless you for this post.

    1. I like the image of the spiral; much preferable to the whirlpool image I once used for my own feelings in a time quite a few years ago.

      On a spiral, one sees the path travelled from different perspectives, all of them true, but each revealing in its own way.

      Inspiration is a lovely thing, Tom, travelling in both directions I assure you!