This weekend happens to be my ten-year college reunion. I went to an elite liberal arts college in the Midwestern part of the United States. We take our reunions seriously as the college had a way for forging lifelong relationships during those short four years together. Back then the community was small and tight.
That said, it is crazy to think ten years have already passed since I graduated from my undergraduate institution of choice. I feel like I am a completely different person than the one who walked down that aisle to get my diploma ten years ago, yet I also feel like I am the same as well.
When I graduated, I was still dating my (now) ex-wife. We were both very involved there. So, my memories of my alma mater bring up conflicted feelings of another life. Thankfully, they are not all hurtful feelings but some truly joyful ones as well.
I write this post today to talk about grief. Personally, I believe one never totally “gets over” the betrayals of infidelity and a subsequent divorce. Like with any sort of life-altering, major loss:
The world just changes, and you find a way to go forward with living.
This college reunion weekend is case and point for me. It reminds me of more innocent times. Days bright with promise. It reminds me of a time when I was still blissfully ignorant concerning adultery, emotional affairs, and ecclesiastical trials from “hell.” Unacquainted with the depths of human depravity. It reminds me of past dreams now lost forever. Futures dashed. It reminds me of relationships unspoiled by the ripple effect of my ex’s adulterous betrayal. Now forever tarnished.
Sad. I feel sad about those losses.
And that is okay.
I also feel excited and joyful about this reunion. I have many good memories from my undergraduate years that remain untainted by my ex-wife’s betrayals. And I have many friends who have remained true even though my personal tragedy. This is a weekend to celebrate those…
…even as it is a weekend to grieve and let go of the losses.
So, as you experience your own “reunion” events, I hope you are willing to allow yourself to feel the complexity of the emotions such events present. It is okay to be sad. And it is okay to be happy. It is okay to inhabit the surreal place those events present.
If you are like me during your “reuion” event, you may feel like you are observing someone else even in your own memories of those past times….
I’m not that person back then.
And I am that person.
I’ve experienced great losses.
But I have also experienced great gains.
It is all part of the journey of life.
Me as a recent graduate in June 2005