“Do Not Let the Hero in Your Soul Perish”

I’ve been really struggling with my allergies this season, struggling to the point where my eyes have been nearly swollen shut. Being completely miserable, all I’ve wanted to do was veg. on the couch and watch mindless tv and just try to get through the day and hope tomorrow will be better.

Having burned through the Vampire Diaries (again!) and Gossip Girl during my last bout of flu, endless laundry folding, and my daily workouts, I was looking for something new.

Like I said, the goal was for mindless and mildly entertaining, something I didn’t really need to pay too much attention to. I browsed through Netflix and stumbled on One Tree Hill. There sure were a lot of episodes . . . and what could be more mindless than a teeny bopper show mainly about teeny boppers love lives? What the heck! May as well give it a try, right?

For the most part the show fit the bill. It was definitely mindless . . . for the most part. What I didn’t expect was the smattering of literary quotes that were well picked and profound, like a gentle prodding toward something more than this hum drum existence, a reminder that there is more to life if we dare to push ourselves toward it.

In fact, in one of the first episodes they quoted Ayn Rand from “Atlas Shrugged” and I have to say that the words impacted me more than any words have in years. In fact, it felt as if they were a battering ram against this dam I have built around my heart.

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite,  the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.”

 

You see, when my daughter died, so did so many of my hopes and dreams. The life I wanted died with her. The girl I was died too. I have spent the last decade of my life mourning not only Serena, but the life I might have had and the girl that I was.

I have struggled with bitterness; I have battled anger. I have railed at God and at life. I have grieved the girl I was while trying to get used to this stranger that I am. I have lied to myself, trying to convince myself that this stranger was somehow better, stronger than that girl who was so full of life and passion. It was a lie.

My fire has gone out, at least, it has burned down to the embers. My soul is perishing in the frustration of the life that might have been, the life that should have been. If that girl who was me dies, the woman I was meant to be dies with her.

You see, I realized she’s not dead. She’s buried behind the wall I have built to keep the pain out. That girl hurts too much to breathe, so I buried her and she has spent the last ten years slowly starving to death, wasting away.

I cannot let that girl die, but that means that I have to let the pain in. It means that I need to come to terms with a God who, though able to heal my daughter, chose not to, and a world that is anything and everything except fair. I need to wrestle that pain, claim it, make it my own. I need to let this stranger that is me meet the girl that I was and come out on the other side as something stronger and wiser than I was but more alive and passionate about living than I am now.

The girl I was was too sheltered to claim the life I desired. She had the heart, but she lacked the depth. Now I have the depth, but I lack the heart.

I must tear down the wall and blow on the embers before the fire dies completely.

But, with the damn broken, and ten years of pain waiting to be voiced, how do I not drown in the flood?

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2 thoughts on ““Do Not Let the Hero in Your Soul Perish”

  1. Heather, I can’t imagine what you have gone through and continue to go through with your loss, but I do know that by writing, you have already opened the flood gates – and that is a good, healthy thing. Sometimes letting the pain in, and reflecting, is better than keeping the wall up. Take care of you.

    • Thank you! I’m trying to. I think for so long all I could do was keep moving, and now finally, since my children are getting older and because the pain isn’t as crippling, I am finally able to grieve, wrestle with and let go of the pain. It helps to think that maybe I have gained something from the journey that can make a difference. It somehow gives Serena’s death meaning. 🙂

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