My sons and husband rolled out my piano yesterday. Its wheels squealed miserably against the floor like a mouse caught in a trap. The protesting sound pinched my heart. I thought I’d cry, but I didn’t. After all, it’s just wood and metal, ivory and ebony. The memory of time spent playing and the music I made will always be with me, for it’s still who I am. Even though I can’t play or sing like I once did, that same spirit, those same words, and the same notes rest in my heart, the echo of a favored friendship.
The piano now sits in my son and daughter-in-law’s home, waiting for other fingers to glide loving over its keys. She hopes to learn to play, and I’d be more than happy to offer some instruction to her and my grandson. The thought of them bringing new life to the beautiful instrument pleases me immensely.
Learning to let go dominates a part of my life, but we all must choose to release things and sometimes people, for various reasons. In my case my physical abilities or lack thereof have prompted me to surrender some portions of my life and my activities. Holding onto things too tightly causes undue pain and only weighs us down in the end. I know. Life moves on, and so must we.
I spent hours each day last week sorting through all of my craft supplies. Instead of being sad about parting with my treasures—scrapbooking supplies, rubber stamps and inks, a stash of yarn and crochet hooks, jewelry making supplies, and my hoard of paper paraphernalia—I feel happy to pass them on to others, who might glean some pleasure from them too.
People vs. Things:
Now, these are just things, but what happens when a person, a relationship enters the picture? A clear picture doesn’t always present itself when we must decide to go or stay, whether to fight or surrender, keep the wounds or let them go. Life is full of hard decisions, and we don’t always make the right ones. Sometimes a right or wrong choice comes down to perspective. In instances, labeling a decision right or wrong doesn’t factor into the equation.
I think of people in my life, acquaintances and friends, who have come and gone, at my choosing or theirs or life intervened and threw us separate ways. Allowing ourselves to be OK with letting go helps us keep our sanity. In reality you cannot be everything to everyone and you cannot hold onto all that you’ve acquired.
What My Main Character Gives Up:
Maang-ikwe, one of my main characters in my upcoming book, Harvest Moon, releases someone very important to her. At the prompting of her parents, her Ojibwe tribe, and the time period, where being a single mother wasn’t much of an option, she relinquishes her son. She chooses to let him go, but maybe she should have fought for him.
The funny thing about writing: your characters act in ways you do not expect or as you might. The crux of Harvest Moon plays out through the bond of family and who Maang-ikwe chooses to hold to and whom she doesn’t. Family, such a blessed but complicated realm of our existence. One choice, one promise can change the course of someone’s life or ours.
Harvest Moon Excerpt:
“Here I am in this new place Webaashi Bay, a place of wind and water. The Great Sea—Gitchi-gami—beats against the rocks with the force of a large hand beating a drum. The bruised blue color of the sky reflects the waves’ power. A storm steeps. I wish a storm could rage in me, but my heart has been blown away, back to Nipigon, the pines, and my son.
“My arms ache from the emptiness of Niin-mawin’s absence. Gibba’s arms hold him now. I want to sob, but I have cried all the tears I have. I sowed my tears in our eighty-mile journey.”
I’ll be reading from Harvest Moon and sharing more of Maang-ikwe’s difficult but beautiful story during my podcast tomorrow afternoon. You can listen through my Anchor.fm station.
What have you released?
Tell me about something or someone you had to release. I’d love to hear more about your story.