An old high school acquaintance just posted something that she had heard from a friend–namely that “grief accumulates”–and that made me respond with the following:
“For a long time now, I’ve thought about relationships between two people as being like a tree growing between them–and when things go well–the tree grows fruits, etc… There are storms (fights) that can damage the tree–and small spats are like losing small sticks or leaves–but something important is that the growth or decay of the tree is cumulative… it has a history.. Too many fights–too many limbs lost–and the tree dies–or worse–is unhealthy and decaying for decades.
I think you could apply the same metaphor more broadly though–and think of all of your relationships together as being like a tree–and when one is lost–it’s like losing a branch…
Too many limbs lost all at once is painful and damaging.. there is an absence there —the social canopy is rent open–and then only time can try to fill up…
But even if it does fill the space–it will never be as it was before–because the scars of lost limbs will still be there..”
In this current moment, we are always going to exist as a summation of things that have happened to us and that we have made happen. This is our continually changing and growing origin story.
It helps to define us–but never totally defines us–because we still have options for the stories we are still going to write.