If you have been reading the blog for awhile, you have no doubt come across my post from a few years ago where I finally share the story of how both my children estranged themselves from me (If you missed it, you can read it here)
Since the truth telling post, which was incredibly empowering to write, I have had the chance to share my story time and time again. Even though it was a powerful story to tell, it continued to be especially heartbreaking as well.
With each passing Mother’s Day, the heartbreak did not go away (You can read my last two Mother’s Day posts here and here). Sure, things got a little easier. I believe time does heal some of our pain, but I have also been working incredibly hard to forgive myself, heal my own wounds and really accept the situation. Without resistance. Without expectation.
The healing has been a slow process. First I needed to do an inventory of where I felt I had failed as a mother. This list extended far and away beyond my son’s crisis. What differed in how I moved through the process this time was the fact that I wasn’t doing an inventory simply to find more ways to beat myself up.
In fact, just the opposite, my desire was to use this inventory to find all of the places where I could forgive myself for being human.
Really! Because in all my perceived failures as a mother, all of it boiled down to the fact that while I did the best I could for my children, I was imperfect. Shocker right? Nah, deep down I believe that we all know this fact about ourselves. Yet, many of us still try to be something more than human, we try to be super-humans. Perfect super humans in fact.
The more I forgave myself, the easier it was to release the hurt, anger and sadness that I felt around the loss of these relationships.
And the more I released, the easier it became to direct my energies at doing what I could to fill the enormous sink hole that had formed between my children and me. It may take a while for the hole to be filled and honestly, I realize that I cannot be fully responsible to fill it up myself. I can only add a shovelful of dirt at a time and do my part. Maybe this is a lifelong process that we all go through to some extent? Maybe the hole never completely gets filled in. Time will certainly tell.
But the work is paying off. This Mother’s Day is different.
This year, I have one of my children with me. I know right!? I have kept it quiet for a while because I wanted to allow things to unfold naturally. And quite honestly, things are still unfolding. That’s ok. There is such great healing happening here and I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity. I still find myself holding my breath a bit, wanting things to flow smoothly for all of us and at the same time not wanting these precious moments to end. Then I remind myself to exhale, to let go and go with the flow.
I know that there are many of you here who are experiencing similar loss in your lives with children or other loved ones choosing to estrange themselves from you. I know your heartbreak and your pain. I am sending out enormous love to you today. While you may not be with your loved one this year, you never know what next year will bring. Please keep the faith. More importantly, focus on your healing. Forgive yourself and forgive them. Remember that each of us has a path to walk and that path may not make sense or meet the expectation of how we’ve “planned” our lives. I’ve still got my own work to do around this fact as well. Please try to remember…