A guest post by Sam Russell
Being a writer, I know the importance of a good denouement – a good ending. Endings satisfy us even if they’re left open for us to interpret, but this is the world of fiction.
In the here and now, endings are anything but satisfying. The end of a jar of Nutella for example, is devastating, at least for me.
There are good endings, the sort that don’t leave you reeling, but they still leave a gap to be filled and I’d be confident in assuming that most people can rearrange their lives to close that space, find something new to fit.
You could leave a job and start a new one, move to a new city and leave your childhood home behind. These are good endings.
Then there are the not so good endings, the ones that don’t just leave a hole but rip a cavern and obliterate everything around them as they make their grand exit. I’m willing to take a guess that most people find this sort or ending the most difficult to adjust to.
The death of a beloved pet can be as terrible as losing a family member. Getting sacked by your employer after several years of dedicated work can feel the same as being pushed off a cliff.
I’ve just ended a five year friendship. We expect things like that to last forever, don’t we? But the truth is, people change and sometimes those changes take you in opposite directions, and those oppositions become points of conflict.
Not every path is the same and not all paths are meant to be walked with the same people from birth until death.
My ending is a mixture of good and not so good; good because I can move on with my life and be free of the strife. Good because they can be free of it too.
It’s good because I don’t have to justify my choices or decisions anymore, things that are down to me alone. It’s good because I’ve learnt how to leave a relationship without anger or hatred in my heart; I’ve been able to speak my truth, believe in it and walk away with it intact.
But it’s not so good because I’ve lost someone I cared for deeply and it has been a painful decline over a year culminating in a rapid disintegration in the past two months.
It’s not good to know that my friend is walking with grief, alone. I can feel their anger despite there not having been any direct disputes, and that they carry this anger saddens me because I know how destructive it is.
It’s not good because we fell out over something that could have drawn us closer. Instead it’s cast us apart.
Endings in real life are unavoidable. You can close a book and remind yourself it’s not real but when I wake tomorrow, I’ll be waking with the memory that I have physically and emotional lost someone. I can’t reopen that book.
So what can I learn from the end of this path that has been everything to me for five years?
I can learn freedom and acceptance. I can come to terms with my decisions. Basically I can grow up a bit more and get a step closer to feeling like a real adult, in control of my life.
I can learn that nothing lasts forever and so, learn to love the beauty of impermanence and the endless flux of change that makes life, life.
I can learn to forgive myself for my own shortcomings. I can take that lesson with me wherever I go now and become a better person.
I can learn to forgive my friend for having said things that hurt me and in turn, forgive others in the future who will do the same.
I can learn that I’m stronger than I first thought. It hurts that this has happened and I will cry for a while but I will recover and move on.
What will you learn the next time you encounter an ending? How will you harness it?
Endings are everything. They’re everything because they’re places where new beginnings happen and when I look at it that way, the pain of this experience doesn’t seem so endless.
About the Author
Sam is a twenty-something novelist in the making from south east England, and a lover of yoga, meditation, books and cats, and has written for Tiny Buddha for almost two years. You can see what Sam’s up to at: cackhanded.wordpress.com for life related stuff and tracesof.tumblr.com for novel related stuff.