My client found her old marriage certificate. She'd been divorced for over six years. She rarely had contact with her ex. But she wanted to hang on to the certificate so she could remember that part of her life.
She was glum when she spoke of the relationship. She was tired when she held the certificate. She sadly said it was going back in hiding in her filing cabinet.
I pointed out her reactions, but she still wanted to hang on. I didn't want to push her. When we're feeling stuck, any attempt at force makes us hold on tighter.
Sometimes we want to hang onto something because we're experiencing a feeling of loss. Even though we can't get back what we're missing, the artifacts make us feel like we can. But never in a fulfilling way.
So I asked my client what she liked about the relationship. She said her teenage daughter. Her daughter lived with her. They were close. I could feel my client's heart light up. I pointed this out for her.
I said that her daughter was living proof. Her daughter was a positive reminder of the marriage. One that made her happier than a piece of paper tucked away in a filing cabinet.