A few weeks ago, I got a message on my phone. It was a friend from Beijing, “I’m in Sydney! Let’s catch up!”
It completely caught me off guard. Beijing is a stand-alone bubble of time that carries no residue at all into my current life. I almost felt defensive about letting any memory of it, or person, enter my new life. Whenever I think back on those days most of it feels like a horrible nightmare. But I did have a few friends, and despite what happened, there were some good times. I messaged my friend back and we agreed to meet at a bar later in the week.
When we met up it felt just like the old times. As we sipped our beers, I was brought back to late nights at the Irish Volunteer, the pub where everyone always went. We talked about our new lives and reminisced about the old. We’ve both grown out of the problems we had back then and are now faced with new ones. As we talked I felt overwhelmed in a rush of happiness, it almost brought me to tears. I’m really proud of myself and how far I’ve come. I don’t know why but whenever I think back on Beijing, I cringe in regret at the person I became after Elizabeth died. I never really offered myself the compassion and forgiveness I needed for myself. It was the worst thing that could have happened and I did my best to survive it. Seeing my friend again reminded me of the person I was; I remember how scared, broken and alone she was. I remember how lost I felt.
We all must do what we can do endure terrible things in this life. But it’s important to remember that we got through it. We’re still here. It’s so empowering to recount the difficult paths we’ve been forced to take. Let’s not undermine the intense emotional journey’s we’ve been on that got us to where we are today. It’s proof that we can get through anything else. No matter what life throws our way, we will always have always be able to fight back.