‘If there’s one thing I believe more than I believe almost anything else, it’s that you can’t fake what’s at the heart of you. The truth that lives there will eventually win out. It’s a god we must all obey, a force that brings us all inevitably to our knees.’

When it does, it will take you a long time to get the monster off your chest. The grief and the guilt will push you to the very limits of your life. And it will be mostly unbearable. But one hot summer day you’ll come home from work early and, while drinking a cold beer on the balcony of a place you can’t believe you now live in, you’ll turn your face to the sun and decide not to suffer anymore.

You will still suffer.

Because you overthink everything. Mostly that will be nothing more than a long dive into a bucket of shit, because thinking doesn’t do anything. Even when you do it a lot. But, for awhile at least, turtling in and uselessly pouring over your grief and guilt will become a comfort compared to the alternative unbearable burn victim pain of peeling back the layers and unbecoming.

There will be no cure except to live the hell out of your life. To get help in taking it apart and putting it back together again. In digging it all up and then filling the hole.

Out of that, you’ll come to know things that can only be known with the wisdom and grace of time and pain. Most of those things will have to do with forgiveness. It will start with you. You will read a quote about learning to say “I am forgiven” over and over again until it becomes the story you believe about yourself. And it will become your secret mantra.

For years.

Somewhere way down the road, with a little luck and a lot of therapy, you will come to understand your grief, your life, and forgiving yourself in ways you couldn’t before the long walk began. Most of all, you will come to know that none of it had anything to do with yearning for a way out, and everything to do with yearning for a way in.

It’s always about the way in.

All that is to say, please hold on for the help and the healing. It gets better.

I promise.

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