Wednesday, August 21, 2013

365 Inspirations—233: Letting Go

"Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go."—Hermann Hesse

This post comes to you from fellow blogger Amanda of ARTiculation. Check out her blog here.  She's got lots of wonderful words to share and she's on a journey of her own that has been interesting to follow. I read this post and there was so much heart in it and such a powerful message that I asked her if I could repost it. Please be kind and leave a comment or visit Amanda on her blog. Here's her lovely post:

The other night, after working all weekend and going to a much deserved vegan buffet with a coworker, I came home to see a couple neighborhood cats stalking my walkway. This was strange, as it hasn't really happened before, but I pet the cats nonetheless, and began to head inside. As I was about to go through the gate, I looked down in front of me at a blue bird on its back looking up at me. I was stunned, literally stopped in my tracks, as I looked down at this bird, still fluffy with youth, bleeding from its leg, crumpled and badly wounded.

I threw my things down in my apartment and came back to look him over. He was still breathing, very much alert, and without doubt in tremendous pain. I scooped him up with cardboard and moved him away from the swarming cats. I was desperate to save him. I called three or four animal clinics, but considering it was about 7:00 on a Sunday night, my calls met answering machines and the resounding realization that I could not save him. My neighbor came out to walk her dog, and she sympathized and advised me to put him out of his misery.

That was my first thought, as well, but... I've never been the one to have to make that call. I've never had to be the executioner. I sat for a few minutes just staring at him while mosquitoes devoured my blood, unable to move for fear that there would be no good decision. I was paralyzed with sadness over the inability to help him. I still don't know how it happened. My theory is that this teenaged bird, ready to fly (or to try) leaped from the nest and was unable to make the ascent, plummeting to the concrete where feline foes hovered over his body.Or, as my neighbor informed me, one of the cats, a boy named Sasha, is an expert bird killer, and he likely was the culprit in bringing him down.

 Either way, I can't be mad at the cats—this is what they do. So what could I do? All I could do was bury him. He would try to move his smashed legs, to stand, to fly, to show me 'Look! Look! I can make it! I can get better!', but he could not move. He could not fly. He would not get better. My neighbor offered to do it for me, but knowing that I'd have to learn how to let go, I took on the task.

Alone now, I funneled the bird into a paper bag, and began sobbing as I looked into the bag at his crumpled body, his eyes still blinking, his heart still beating, and I just sobbed. I sobbed as I dug a shallow grave for him, and sobbed as I pressed the bag, warm with his fading life, into the dirt, his bones likely breaking as surely as my heart with each heave of my hands. I sobbed for him, apologized that I couldn't save him, and asked God to let him die quickly.

To most people, this experience likely seems trivial and inconsequential, but to me, it was like The Tell Tale Heart. I wept as I washed dirt from under my nails, distraught that this bird with dreams of flying will never know the rush of wind between his feathers or the comfort of a nest ever again.

Despite all of the sadness, the experience taught me that no matter how painful, sometimes, we just have to let go. We have to forgive ourselves, bury the past, and move forward with the understanding that we did the best we could with what we had, and that the rest is left for worms.

Have you ever had a similar experience of letting go of something or someone? What did you learn from this experience?


  1. When my marriage was failing a couple of years ago...I kept trying to save it, even when it was apparent it couldn't be saved. Letting go is sometimes hard. Very hard. But once I made that decision, I became the person I am today.

    1. Hi Keith, Thanks for reading! I'm inspired by all that you write too! You seem very happy now in your life. Thanks for visiting and reading Amanda's lovely post here.

  2. I had to make the decision to have my cat Waddles put down. It was the hardest decision I ever made. I didn't want to let her go, but she was suffering. I knew it was selfish to hold on to her, so I let her go. I still grieve over losing her, but I had to set her free.

  3. This made me cry! It was an act of mercy you gave but oh so hard. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. Beautiful lesson. Forgiving ourselves is the hardest forgiveness of all.