chapter  12
9 Pages

Together as One: The Postjoining Process

Thi.s stage in my lilt· right now is just spectacular, because I'm in the present more than l have ever, ever Leen in my entire life. And I can look at the past and I can remember ... but I'm not actually reliving [it] .... I'm so glad to finally be able to recognize the difference. It's really exciting .... It used to be like walking into a memory, like walking into that old nightmare, especially during this time of year, particulJrly painful, but this is the first year that I've ever really . . been so fully in the present that driving down these streets doesn't make me tear up, that just looking at the date doesn't make my stomach tie in knots and make me feel sick. So it's ... very exciting. I do feel sad about some of the stuff that happened in November and December around the holidays in previous years. I can feel very sad about that, and I can cry about it, but it's not going to ruin my holiday; it doesn't ruin where I'm at now, because the here and now is really exciting. I'm a newlywed and we have our first Christmas tree

together. And it's just spectacular, I have to say. It's just a great tree. And we have some really neat friend<; that we've had a couple of parties with so far to celebrate the holidays. And it's just everything I always wanted the holiday to be ... and it's really exciting to be able to do it for myself, create it for myself .... The biggest difference is not reliving [the traumatic memories]. Knowing it happened and being able to see it for what it was, and know it was me that all that stuff happened to, but not to be weighed down by that pain, !ike a rock in the heart.