Grief CPR Series
Things we need to know BEFORE emotional disaster strikes!

Emotion = Energy in Motion

Letting go!

I am often asked "How do I let go?" or "How did you let go?" That is such a tough answer. What I learned in 30 years of grieving is this: To truly let go, those arms have to open up and release all of it, the longing, the pain, the emptiness. When I no longer clutched at my heart with closed fists, along with a pillow, clothing, something of my child’s in my hands...and opened up my heart and hands and let it all float off them into the universe, peace finally came within. I can now take those empty arms and cross my heart with open hands and have an "angel hug of love" and it is good.

Now how did I do that? Fair question, I do this by choosing to become bigger than my pain. I learned somewhat slowly at first, that the mind is such a powerful thing. I was so overwhelmed with my pain, that I was actually drawing more pain into my being. The sub conscious, or inner voice, does what we tell it to. When I told it that I hurt so bad I could not go on, I did not have the strength to get out of bed, it said OK. When I said I want him back! It said…hmmm…ok, we will bring him back in your dreams, but we can’t control this, they may be nightmares. They were. But I got what I asked for.

Letting go is such an important part of grieving, and we truly make it much harder than it has to be. I say this from a perspective of doing this multiple times in my life now. The first time was so very hard. I was standing at my washing machine, holding a pillow case that had dried vomit on it from when Terry had the flu two weeks prior to his death. It was only a small spot I had not seen, as it was his floor nap pillow, and it had been tossed in the corner of the room. I am standing there clutching that pillow case as hard as I could; I could not drop it into the washer, thinking “how pathetic am I?” I am holding onto his vomit?? But my hands would not open, I shut the lid and stood there crying. At that moment a vision of Terry floated down onto the washer. He sat on the lid, with his feet hanging over the top as he had done before, when helping me. I backed up out of fear, then in desperation asked him WHY?? WHY are you doing this to me? I see you run through the living room, I hear you laughing, I see your rocking horse move? WHY are you doing this to me? You are driving me crazy! WHY?? He said this to me: Your love is so strong, you keep pulling me back! I want to come back to you but I can’t. I can only come for mere seconds at a time, and only as a vision. You cannot hold me, you cannot touch me. Your love for me is holding me here, stuck in limbo. I cannot go on until you let me go. You have to let me, I need to move on. I love you mama, but please let me go! And with that he just dissolved away in mere seconds. As he was talking I tried to touch him, he was only mist, but when he was gone there was nothing. The air upon which he sat was empty. Thru my tears, I opened up the washer and dropped the pillow case in. I opened up my clutched fists, and raised my arms, and said out loud, Good bye Terry, be free, free from this earth to move on. In my love I am letting you go, I will no longer pull you back to me; I will see you on the other side. I shut the washer, and turned it on. I felt a huge burden lift off my soul, and peace begin to flow within. The visions stopped. The nightmares stopped, and healing began.

Letting go is a part of the journey we all must take down our life path. Learning to LIVE after we let go can be just as hard as we choose to make it. We can choose to release the pain, let it float away and walk back into life, or not.

All of my pain was not instantly washed away in letting go of Terry by any means, but in letting go, healing could begin. I did not have all the resources we now have to help me; it was a long and very painful journey. So when I thought I had made good progress down this path of healing, life happened-- again.

I was forced to say good bye to Brandon. It had been 8 years since I had done this with Terry. I had, however learned a lot in those 8 years. I knew the road ahead, and I knew which fork in the road I wanted to take. Although it was hard, I knew I had to let him go upon his death, I knew he had to be free to move on. His life with cancer was so horrible; I did not want to ever bring him back to this ugly world of pain and torture! Also thru my pain, I was able to teach my husband how to let go. I had given him the gift of this child; I was now able to give him the gift of letting this child go.

How did I do this? As we talked, he was holding Brandon in his arms in the recliner, and the end was near. I told him that it was now time to start letting go, he had held onto the hope of a miracle, and a cure for all this time, but that it was not to be. I told him that in his love for his son, he had to let him move on. He could not talk at this point, I told him when he passes, kiss him good bye, and watch his spirit rise. Open your hands and heart and let all of him float up with his spirit. Don’t wish him back, don’t call him back. Let him go. Then I moved away to let them have the time to let go of each other. And truly when they both had released the bonds of pain, Brandon was ready to go. He took his final breath and was gone. This time I was ready to let go, and I did at the moment of his death. As I held him along with his dad, we let his spirit be free of this earth. Our tears were of peace. His painful bonds of this earth were gone, my heart was broken yet again, but this time healing could begin at the moment of death. A life lesson learned. Be brave enough to let go and move on.

Men and women grieve so very differently; it had been some time before our lives calmed down enough that we could talk about letting go again. My husband told me that after they took Brandon’s body away, and he drifted off to sleep, he dreamed of him. He said he saw him walking, and he tried to walk with him, telling him, wait, I want to go with you! And Brandon told him no, it’s not your time, I was just saying goodbye, I wanted you to know I no longer hurt, I am free and I’ll see you on the other side, and he was gone. Brandon did not come back again.

So is letting go as hard as we think it is? Yes and No. It takes great courage, and much love. I used to think I had to hang on because I loved Terry so much, when it was the total opposite. I had to let go because I loved him so much. So in Brandon’s death he taught me that healing can begin at the moment of passing. Yes time heals, and pain fades, but time can begin right away.

If you didn’t get to say goodbye, you need to do so. You cannot let go until you say good bye. And you have to say it with your entire being. Say it with your heart, your spirit, and importantly your voice. You have to say it out loud, and mean it. Shout it if you have to; but say it. Words once spoken are allowed to float upon the universe through eternity. If you need to apologize or ask forgiveness do that. Also forgive them for leaving you. Then release the pain and let it go as you let them go.

Looking at it from both sides, I didn't get to say goodbye to Terry, and I had my arms around Brandon as he took his last breath...they both knew and felt my love on a daily basis, and holding onto the thought of "I never got to" just tore at me, and held Terry's spirit in limbo. When I said out loud goodbyes to Terry, the peace came within. It was part of letting go, I thought I had, but not until I fully said goodbye with my HEART in spoken word had my spirit let go.

So this is where my story and my title of my book come from. I choose to become bigger than my pain, in my daily life, with much love and great courage. Come with me!

Sandy Brosam, Author
Becoming Bigger Than Our Pain

Author's Bio: 

Author's Bio:
Sandra Brosam is the mother of four children, two healthy young adults, and two children who died. Her first born died at age 2 in a car accident, and then her fourth child died of cancer at 17 months old. In her journey through the pain she found many people wanted to help her, but didn’t know how. They were as lost in the pain as she was. What started out as a journal of healing grew into a book of understanding pain, from this young woman living in a small town in Eastern Washington. Sandy has now taken her Grief Support Guide on the road, traveling to Texas, and AR on a book signing tour.