The River of Loss


Peter Gabriel – Washing Of The Water

River, river, carry me on
Living river, carry me on
River, river, carry me on
To the place where I come from

So deep, so wide, will you take me on your back for a ride
If I should fall, would you swallow me deep inside
River, show me how to float, I feel like I’m sinking down
Thought that I could get along

But here in this water, my feet won’t touch the ground
I need something to turn myself around

Going away, away toward the sea
River deep, can you lift up and carry me
Oh roll on through the heartland
‘Til the sun has left the sky
River, river, carry me high

‘Til the washing of the water, make it all alright
Let your waters reach me, like she reached me tonight

Letting go, it’s so hard, the way it’s hurting now
To get this love untied
So tough to stay with this thing, ‘cuz if I follow through
I face what I denied
I’ll get those hooks out of me
And I’ll take out the hooks that I sunk deep in your side
Kill that fear of emptiness, that loneliness I hide

River, oh river, river running deep
Bring me something that will let me get to sleep

In the washing of the water will you take it all away
Bring me something to take this pain away

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve written to you, Kiddo. Life has a way of intercepting my intentions and commandeering my processes. As they say, Life is what happens while you are making other plans.

In the past few months, my life has been in something of an upheaval. A very good friend of mine has ended our friendship of more than a decade. I understand the reasoning… but that doesn’t resolve the pain in me. Only allowing the grieving process to run its course will do that.

The hardest moment in this process was realizing that my view of our relationship was not the same as my friend’s view. The span of difference in our discrepancy was significant and made me realize I had made some big assumptions. The process of mourning requires me to not just grieve the loss of the relationship… but the erroneous beliefs I held.

I went through a tough time of hurt and anger before I realized that I was missing an important part of the process. I needed to actually allow myself to MISS my friend. To embrace the sadness… the loss… and giving up the future we will never share.

To help me through this process, I wrote a letter to my friend which I never sent. It contains three lists: Those things I am sorry for (because I own the part I played in this separation); Those things I am thankful for; and those things I miss to which I must now say goodbye.

It took me 4 days to write the lists. One entire day was spent sitting on my back porch, just processing… reliving… crying… letting go.

Every so often, I reopen the letter and add to the lists… especially the things to which I must say goodbye. Those are the hardest to acknowledge. But they also seem to help the process the most.

The saddest things on the list are actually not the just the things I miss… but the future we will never share. I hadn’t realized how much hope I had placed on this relationship’s shoulders. This friendship had seen me through some dark times and I guess I expected that it would always be there for me to lean on. I find it ironic that I could have a life filled with many other wonderful friends and a deeply supportive family… and yet this loss can, at times, make me feel quite lonely.

Understand this, Kiddo: When you grieve the loss of someone (through death or separation), you are grieving the loss of someone who will not – who cannot – be replaced. There will never be anyone in the world who relates to you the same way. No one you will ever meet who will fill the same combination of needs for you. No person who will ever mean to you what that person meant in your life.

So you have a right to mourn. You have a right to flounder about and feel lost for awhile. Your fear of abandonment will rise up and try to darken your loss into anger and pain. This is normal for a short time. Then you must take the reins and let yourself miss the person.

You will get your bearings eventually and those wounds will slowly heal. The river will run its course.

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