It’s a morbid experience, to leave someone behind you after having learnt them inside and out. To know, at least up until the moment you left them, that you could read their minds like a map; trace their thoughts like a palm reader. This is to be so intimately connected to someone that you understand their thoughts about an event even when you’re not even physically with them. The way you see that person, any person, is exclusive to you – it is yours. That person lives and dies the moment you let go.
Parting with someone you care about is never easy. Yet as you grow older, suddenly the multitude of people you “used to know” grows longer and longer without any conscious decision to move forward. Sometimes relationships break down because of a heated disagreement. Most of the time, relationships break down simply due to having limited time or a lack of similarities, rendering it impossible to connect any longer.
Any kind of relationship break down, be it romantic, platonic or familial has a far greater ripple effect than we ever believe. Growing older often happens so quickly that you don’t notice when someone is still influencing your decisions; even when you haven’t spoken in years. When you choose to take action or refrain from acting based on an experience with a person, you are allowing ghosts to make your decisions. This can be positive and negative. Some people are terrified of ghosts and others simply do not believe in them. As we grow older, we can’t help but let some of them haunt our lives – for better, or for worse.
Far too often it is the fault of humankind to try and keep the memory of a person alive. Eventually, it will become undeniable that you no longer know a person. Usually it arrives to us as a harsh slap in the face, completely catching us off guard. It surprises us when our memories of a person are not in fact that person. At first it’s a minor tweak in details, and eventually it is recalling a memory instead of remembering a person. Once this begins, it is only a matter of time before you lose them forever.
To understand a human being fully requires constant interaction. Our memories are tainted with the present without us ever meaning to change them, completely against our control. As our memories of all events change and morph; as we grow and learn about ourselves, so too do our recollections of others. We see things not as they are, but as we are. We are constantly evolving. The people we leave along the way are lost forever as our minds recall someone in the context of our new experiences, new relationships and new thoughts. It can make us choose to remember only the good, only the bad, or just the parts that resonate with the current version of ourselves.
To knowingly let someone fall out of your life is to kill your memory of them forever. This is why it is so hard to let go of people. It can also be why it is so easy.
Words by CYNDALL MCINERNEY, a law and advertising student from Sydney who is guilty of allowing ghosts to make her decisions, particularly regarding whether or not to eat dessert. Check out her blog here.