Letting Go

Lots of movies have gripping scenes where someone is barely hanging on in a precarious life-threatening situation, and others are encouraging them to “hang on” and “don’t let go.”  Some do hang on and are rescued.  Others don’t.

The movie Titanic had a couple of scenes like that.  I am thinking of the scene after the Titanic has sunk when Rose is floating precariously on a flimsy board, and Jack is in the water, holding her hand and telling her “Don’t give up, Rose.  Don’t you quit.”  Soon, though, the freezing water is too much for Jack, and he loses his grip, lets go and slips under the water.  But Rose hangs on and is rescued and lives a full and satisfying life.

Hanging on is not always the best thing, though.  Five years ago friends of ours lost a grand-baby.  The baby was only a few days old when it died.  That was a sad time and there is still grieving over that baby.  Our friends have a little letting go tradition they started on the baby’s first birthday.  They buy a happy birthday balloon, say a little prayer, and let the balloon go.  I was over there for dinner tonight, on what would have been the baby’s fifth birthday, and participated in the letting go ceremony.  My buddy and I stood there watching that balloon until we couldn’t see it anymore.

Sue was in a lot of pain today, on and off.  Headaches, neuropathy, nausea and general discomfort.  You want to be encouraging, but days like this you don’t know if it’s even right to stand on the sidelines and holler “Don’t give up.”  “Don’t quit.”  “Hang on.”  “Don’t let go.”

Someone, presumably Leslie Plyler, posted this letting-go poem as a comment to one of my recent posts.

In the silence of your slumber
There’s a low-lit burning fuse
Your journeys almost over
And you’ve paid your final dues

Your sun will now be setting
From a view I cannot see
A prism of crystal colors
That plays a beautiful symphony

You’ll finally have the option
To soar on the eagles wing
To fly from near the mountain tops
Down to the nearest stream

No more burdens of this life
You’ll not find them around
You’ll finally be released
Of the chains that held you down

And I won’t hold you back
Being selfish with my tears
By dwelling on your life
That you had when you were here

With unconditioned love
I send with thee my friend
And holding memories dear
Until we meet again.

Written by Leslie Plyler
with Dennis Coty 1948-2002