One of my favorite childhood stories was The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson. I was impressed that a creature of the sea would accept such pain to love another and in the end he didn’t chose her. If you want to read a story that is heart-wrenching, sad, and cathartic, you should read the original story and not watch the sanitized version by Disney.
On my desk is a tiny statue of the “Little Mermaid.” I found it on my trip to Denmark a few years ago. I was on a tour bus and one of the places we went to was the Langelinje Pier in Coopenhagen to see the mermaid statue. When I looked down at the statue and saw the waves lick her feet, it made the story more real to me.
It is one of those fairy tales that settles into the heart.
I lost my prince to death on September 19, 2014. In the story the mermaid didn’t have a soul so she drifted in the aether with other spirits. In my heart I have drifted. Every year I go farther away from the pain. Every year I remember his irrepressible spirit.
It has taken me fifty years to understand the pain in the story. But even though the story is disturbing, there is a nugget of hope in the last words:
“After three hundred years, thus shall we float into the kingdom of heaven,” said she. “And we may even get there sooner,” whispered one of her companions.
So even in love and even in pain– there is always hope.