Layering Isn’t Just for Sweaters

English: Icelandic sweater Deutsch: Islandpullover
Image via Wikipedia

One of the most difficult aspects of separation is dealing with the memories.  I remember on my first solo grocery shopping trip, I burst into tears at the sight of the sparkling water my husband used to buy.  If I couldn’t even handle the sight of an innocuous green bottle, how was I ever going to handle the places and objects that sparked real memories?

In the early months, my primary strategy was avoidance as much as possible.  It wasn’t easy, though, as I lived about 6 miles from our former home and I still worked just around the corner.  I secured a P.O. box in the area for that first year and I would take the most circuitous, traffic-laden route to get there so that I didn’t have to drive by my old neighborhood.  Even so, I lived with constant reminders since I was so close to the crime scene.

Even while I tried to practice avoidance with the everyday reminders, I sought to consciously layer memories of the big things, I fought to take back psychic possession of certain locations or activities that he and I had done together.I staked my  claim on those memories I refused to let him have them. By revisited with others and layering memories, I could once again look at those places with fondness.

It was a surreal time.  I dragged city-loving friends on hikes through the mountains.  I faced the place in the airport where I last touched my ex with a  date, on our way to see the Smithsonian.  I went with groups of friends to the restaurant where he and I ate weekly.

At first, this layering was very deliberate, intentional.  Over time, I found that it became second nature, even to the point of applying a second layer without thought.  Much as one does with a sweater when the wind bites a bit too much.

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