Should the past remain in the past?

Written by Yasmin Alexandria

A couple of months ago an old friend reached out to inform me that someone from my past had unfortunately passed away and within a split second I began to cry, I cried buckets but this small nagging voice within me screamed that I had no right to be upset or grieve because that person was my past. I hadn’t spoken to them in months, maybe even years. I felt like me being upset was an insult to people who actually still actively held a place in his life.

And yet I couldn’t stop the barrage of memories I’d shared with him, the odd conversations on a Monday morning in the rain or the lunches where he’d have me in stitches. It was like I was transported back to this time in my life where I saw him nearly every day.

Surely this gave me the right to be sad? It wasn’t until I was invited to a memorial being held in his honour at our old school did I break out of this mirage of memories. I realised no matter how much I felt I was expected to travel several hours to return to that place I couldn’t. I physically couldn’t. Why should I make an effort to return to a place that held nothing but bad memories for me, a place that even just honestly thinking about it reopens wounds of not feeling wanted or respected? A place where my Mental Health plummeted to the lowest of lows. I think I hated the fact that I’d seemed selfish by refusing to run to the people who rejected me time and time again. It was unspoken but I could tell that it was expected of me to drop everything to comfort them. They wanted to sit in a circle and reminisce about the good old days not caring if those memories were false. I was meant to play along with that back then we were happy and that their behaviour was okay. I’m not sure if this is what adulthood is supposed to be like?

Finally breaking out from that hazy spell and realizing that not everything was perfect. A crack in the rose coloured glasses so to speak? I still ask myself to this day: was it selfish to put me and my Mental Health first? Should I have gone and dealt with rebuilding myself afterwards? Should the past remain the past?

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