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I’ve written about metaphors many times before on this blog. Metaphors tell a story. They create visual imagery and they allow me to find insight.
A long time ago, I was imprisoned by grief. It was a horror that separated me from everything familiar.
I started to write about this metaphor at the end of my last post. “Being released from a prison,” explained how I was free from deep grief. But I was left forever changed as a result of being locked away for years. Feeling sad about those lost years still comes up for me, but I usually overcome it with gratefulness because of where I am now.
I have devoted myself to going back into prisons because I want to comfort people there. It is not always easy for me to do this, but it adds a lot of purpose to my life.
The prison metaphor definitely fits with the unfairness of it all. Ending up in a prison when you haven’t done anything wrong is reprehensible. Families are wrecked; marriages and surviving children suffer. I was angry at the system and wondered who was to blame for my imprisonment.
I was fortunate that I had a few visitors, because most people do not want to visit someone in a prison.
I did not expect I’d ever be free again. Anger turned to depression. Eventually, I accepted that this was the way my life would be. I was absolutely certain I’d never leave.
But one day I just did.
I found a key that opened a door, which led me back to the world outside. I was so thankful for that key.
It held such mystery; where did it come from?
So much had changed since I’d been imprisoned. It was strange and exciting as I began a new life. I didn’t miss the prison, but there was guilt – that leaving my prison of grief meant that I didn’t love what I had lost enough to pay the price.
But then I discovered that my love was overflowing and guilt left me.
I have been corresponding with a “prisoner of grief.” Her name is Dee and she honors me by sharing my words on her blog. I’ve also included a few “yellow” excerpts of her writing for this story.
This is a link to Dee’s post: https://deeincollingo.com/2016/04/19/my-personal-prison-of-grief/
I want to end this post with my thoughts about how I left my prison.
Allowing images to float through my subconscious leads to amazing insights for me. As I wrote this story, I just closed my eyes and saw myself leaving the prison. I let myself out using a key that seemed to have magically appeared.
I had already served a long sentence. I wasn’t released by anyone or pardoned. I didn’t escape or break out. I wondered why that key hadn’t come to me sooner.
But all that really mattered was that I was willing and ready to leave.
After so many years of living inside a prison, being free was unbelievable. Unreal. Eerie. I never imagined it in a million years.
I know that I am free.
When I think of my son, I am able to smile. I have many moments of joy in my life and I celebrate my living children (without guilt). I am not angry with people who do not understand grief and make thoughtless remarks.
But why do I go back to the prison if I’m free? The prisoners I visit are suffering and remind me of my past horror. They believe that freedom will never be possible for them, so I’ve learned to just hold their hands to offer hope.
I do it because my child whispers in my ear and hugs me every time I visit.
It just dawned on me . . .
He brought me the key!
Link to Part 2 of this story: THE KEY-PART 2
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