We were asked to explore Beginnings, Middles and Endings in counselling recently. Beginnings can be a little bit nerve wracking as we establish a new relationship, the Middles all about developing the relationship and the Endings are often a little sad as we say Goodbye to a relationship. It got me thinking about Endings in general. How do we feel at the end of a great book? At the end of a good movie? A bad movie? How about when we are expecting one more sweet in the packet and realise we already had the last one? Does it help to know an ending is coming?
I think back to my childhood where I said goodbye to people every two years, always to be the new girl somewhere else. I knew the ending was coming as most of our things would be packed up in MFO boxes for weeks before the event. I tried to lessen the blow by having a lot of pen pals (way before mobile phones and social media if I have any younger generation reading this, it was harder to stay in touch). One day my dad left, without a goodbye. Boxing day. I was 10 years old. I recall that experience left me with a lot of questions, trying to make sense of things for years and coming up with my own conclusion, or ending. Whilst on duty as a Special Constable patrolling the hospital grounds I had a feeling that I needed to pop into the ward to say a goodbye to my grandpa. He had gone in for a hip operation but suffered a stroke. I said a goodbye that night, and he had died the following day. I am glad I listened to that feeling. I think mostly it helps to know an ending is coming. Maybe its more the deterioration that hurts and the ending is a relief?
I can’t help thinking change is constant, endings are inevitable and every story has a happy ending – depending on where you stop the story. ‘Happily ever after’ is a nice way to stop the story in the middle but avoids the real end. I guess that’s why its in every fairy tale going and we feel happy about the ending. Apart from the Grimms brothers tales, I recall being quite disturbed by some of their endings. In real life we know that even princesses don’t have happily ever afters, and endings can be abrupt and shocking. I recall the end of my marriage, I knew we were having issues but I did not know we couldn’t overcome them. Until I did know, and it was over. I think that ending was an ending to prepare me for all other endings, nothing has ever floored me like that again. Within a month our house had sold, I packed the car with just the things I came with, handed in my notice at work and headed to another part of the country to start over. It took me a while to accept that things had changed that dramatically. That’s when I figured out what endings were about, embracing change. It was a hard ending, but there were so many positive beginnings that came from it. I guess we are all here to evolve not to stand still.
In those wonderful moments of finding love its hard not to want the world not to stand still when you know about endings. It can be hard to stay in the moment of the beginning and the middle and not get worried, fearful or upset about the end. When a relationship ends, the change can be very painful and as John Seeley says it can bring up a lot of self worth issues; especially if they have started another beginning before you were done with your ending. My mother always used to say it would have been easier for her to deal with if my father had died, not left. Her memories wouldn’t have been tainted. But then sometimes on a death bed you may receive confessions that do just that. It’s my sisters birthday today. I lost my sister to psychosis, she’s somewhere in the world both literally and spiritually, but I don’t know where, both literally and spiritually. So maybe the common thread with endings is change and a way of coping with change?
In life as we all know, noone gets out alive, so can we stay in the present moment and enjoy it? There have been enough signs in my life so far to accept that death isn’t really the end, it’s a change. Once I was receiving Reiki healing when I was told that a maternal figure from the other side was here to help, the healer corrected herself and told me the spirit had said “I’m not dead yet you know” and said she was between worlds. I knew that would be my gran. She had Alzheimers. Even science tells us we can’t create or destroy energy, it can only change form. The energy inside us (a spirit, a soul) therefore changes form, whilst our biological body breaks down, becomes part of the carbon cycle and we are recycled in the world too. Dr Brian Weiss explains in his book of the same title that only love is real. It transcends lifetimes, so we can take love with us. This may be a belief of mine that softens the blow of endings – like writing pen pal letters to people I will never meet again. I guess one day we will all find out. For those out there who are going through a difficult ending right now, remember there will be a beginning that follows, that love is always with you even if it doesn’t feel like it and that…