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  • Writer's pictureTim Brown

"Let it Go ..."

“This is such a big thing it’s so hard to get my head around! I thought I could rationalise with this but it’s just such a big thing to get your head around.”

Dear Little Owl,

“This is such a big thing it’s so hard to get my head around! I thought I could rationalise with this but it’s just such a big thing to get your head around.”

This is something I kept repeating to myself, and others over and over again during the first couple of weeks of you passing away.

Over a month has passed now. Ivy said to me a couple of weeks after you died, “daddy we can just give Nanny 'true loves kiss', to bring her back”. Wise words for a 4 year old? Disney has a lot to answer for, both for some of the cause of pain and maybe 2 potential essential life lessons through this though. We are brought up on fairy tales and romantic stories and teach the same ones to our children. That every princess finds their perfect prince, good will always overcome evil, there’s always a happy ending and that true loves kiss can rescue anyone, all of which were not helping me with the reality of the situation. That said the words of two wise Disney favourites would prove to be my saviour and guide me through.

Number 1: In the words of the Snow Queen Elsa, “Let it go”.

On a rational level, I thought I could handle you passing away, after all I get emotionally high jacked daily to some extent, whether it’s not getting a seat on the train to work, negotiating bed time with Ivy, a project I have to deliver or trying to avoid eating the M&S flap jacks someone just brought into the office. It’s part of daily life, we are after all emotional creatures. I work hard to rationalise my way through day to day life though, looking for the lessons in uncomfortable experiences and challenging unhelpful assumptions to help remain calm and balanced. I am getting pretty good at it as well, yet the feelings that came when you died came from a place that I never knew existed, and resisted my usual tactics. It was so deep, so strong, such an extreme version of what I had ever experienced before, it was completely bossing me. My heart ached, my body ached, it was intense. It was such a big thing to get my head around.


“It’s similar, yet unique for all of us at the same time”


As with all crisis’ I face I ended up going to my one reliable source to look for answers, “thank you google”! You know I’m not particularly religious, but I completely understand the comfort this can give people particularly in challenging times such as this. My challenge was my rational self didn’t find it helpful to believe I would meet up with you again someday. Again, I want to emphasise this is personal to me and not intended to discredit or offend anyone else’s beliefs, with grief it’s similar, yet unique for all of us at the same time. That said I did stumble across an article on how death is thought of in Buddhism and the idea of impermanence. Now I am interpreting this so I may not have got this completely correct, but my understanding is that impermanence essentially means that nothing in life is fixed, and trying to hold on to something or keep it as is, causes suffering. It also told a simple story about a rain cloud. You see a rain cloud in the sky, then when it rains you think it’s gone. It hasn’t though, it’s simply turned into rain, the rain then falls to the ground, the rain is still in the ground, now it becomes the moisture in the earth, eventually this turns to vapour and evaporates forming more clouds. The essence has never gone it just takes on different forms. Our relationship with each of these different forms changes as well, how I think of clouds is totally different to how I think of rain, and we accept this. If we tried to hold onto every cloud (which in UK would be exhausting) hoping it would never change we would find it very difficult to move forward. This endless cycle of change is what keeps the world turning.

This had a big impact on me, death seems so final, not many things are that final that you can’t ever get in it back or see it again. The thing I was finding hard to get my head around was I was trying to hold onto you as I’d always known you, the rain cloud. You have been with me forever, physically, and now you are not. I now have to find a new way to have you in my life, of letting go of you as you once were, and yet still living with you. I now have to form a relationship without you actually being here. I’m still learning but a few things are really helping. Looking at your photos particularly in your early life helped me connect to you on a level that I’d never considered before, it helped me connect to the person, the sister the friend not just "mum". Writing a daily journal, now I’m not talking “War and Peace” just little daily entries around how I feel. Writing “The Little Owl” helped me, being close to people who knew you and sharing stories. Practising mindfulness, being grateful for what you taught me and who I am, which will impact how I bring up my children and accepting that even though you aren't with me physically, you will always be with me. I had to understand that to hold on to clouds is quite selfish as you are preventing others (and the cloud) from enjoying the rain.

Again, these little things are personal to me and have helped me so far and I am sure everyone has their own little treasure that helped them.

So, if Queen Elsa taught me the first lesson to guide me through this time by letting go, I’d like to leave you with my 2nd life lesson that my daughter and I found particularly helpful, taught by another wise Disney favourite:

"Simba, let me tell you something my father told me. Look at the stars. The great kings of the past look down on us from those stars... So whenever you feel alone, just remember that those kings will always be there to guide you. And so will I."

Love you lots, I'll write again soon,


#grief #littleowl #lettinggo #impermanence #OwlPost #LetterstotheLittleOwl

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