Endings matter because they take emotional and physical energy. And when they're not 'good enough', they can sometimes take too much of our energy.
So it's worth knowing what can help you make your endings good enough for you (and what that looks like will be different for everyone).
Here are some ideas from some of the mothers I have worked with about what has helped them settle themselves with 'good enough' endings. You might well have some other ideas, but this is just a starter for 10...
1. Say the things you wish you’d said
One of the things I am told again and again is that people wish they had said certain things to people, or done certain things before it was too late. Regret is a really common emotion after an ending, and sometimes it is possible to avoid that. By paying attention to the ending, rather than avoiding it, sometimes you can allow yourself space to do or say what feels important.
2. Remember how much everything else counts
On the other hand, sometimes it is easy to focus on the one moment that was 'not so perfect' at the expense of all the other parts that went really well. However relationships are build up of many many moments, and so having an ending that maybe didn't go quite the way you wanted it to go does NOT negate all those other parts. In fact, all those other parts mean that the relationship can tolerate something not being 'perfect.'
3. Be compassionate to yourself – good enough IS good enough
Many of us have an idea of the 'perfect' ending - that there is a perfect way to write the perfect message in a leaving card for a colleague, or a perfect way to show a friend how much they matter to you. And sometimes it's just not going to be like that.
4. Look after your body, the same way you would as if you were ill
Particularly big endings will take their toll on your energy, and women I've worked with have talked about how surprised they were to find themselves feeling run down or getting ill after important endings. Cutting yourself some slack and doing things that nourish you can be really beneficial, to help you build your energy back up.
5. Allow space for the emotion
So easy to say! And so much harder to do. Especially if you don't like the emotions you're experiencing. But being non-judgemental towards your feelings means that they are less likely to get 'stuck'. If you're struggling with that bit, counselling or other therapies can often help.
These are just some very, very rough rules of thumb that might be helpful if you're struggling with an ending. If you have other ideas of what has worked (or not worked) for you, I'd be really interested in hearing more. And one of the big endings that many mothers contemplate is the return to work - one of my most shared blog posts is on that topic and you can read it here.
Good luck and please do get in touch if you'd like to chat about this, Sarah x