Category Archives: Family
I had no idea that the gap that launched me into single status could possibly get any wider. I can see now, though, how inevitable it would be, for as I kept taking steps backward, slowly turning away from the disaster my life had become, and finally running like hell, my scenery changed, my viewpoint cleared, and my vision sharpened. I found myself standing in a place my ex would never understand. The rules regarding school work, curfew, healthy eating – the rules that united, albeit loosely, the ex and I together – soon became the mother of all disagreements.
Seventeen years ago, as part of my efforts to be the “perfect” mom, I adopted other women’s examples of what raising children “should be,” even if it didn’t resonate with me. Man, was that exhausting. I had rules up the wazoo and fought to keep them in place. And the boys fought back.
But eight months ago the blinders dropped to my feet and I found that I had forgotten to preach what I practiced. The solution was so simple.
Let them be.
Which is exactly how I prefer to be treated. I don’t want anyone telling me what to do or telling me what path to choose, so why should I do that to my boys? Sure, my body may be older, but my children’s souls are just as experienced as mine. These boys aren’t mine in the possession sense. From a spiritual point of view, I don’t have the right to put borders around their spirits and make them the exact image that society or even I believe to be true. I’m here to guide them, not mold them. They know who they need to be. Besides, what a waste of time when quite possibly after 18 years, they’re going to do and be what they want anyway. I know I did.
It is my belief that we come into this existence knowing what our life path is. The road map has already been printed up, although our free will sometimes overrides that map and takes us on some wild side trips. When we truly deviate off that path,though, it doesn’t go unnoticed. Don’t we feel the discord when we want to go one direction and someone tries to convince us otherwise? Especially if the only source of righteousness is in their own mind? Or what about compromising on something we truly believe in?
My mother pushed me to go to college because it was what I “should” do, yet all I did was spin my wheels, lost a lot of brain cells, and ran up a student loan that never should have been. Besides, halfway through the first year I realized I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. This is one area I won’t push my boys on. No amount of lecturing is going to make this the right choice for them. True motivation must come from them. Otherwise it becomes my job to keep them going, a burden that will have us both resentful.
In the months past, I’ve gotten a clearer view of who my boys really are. Without the shoulds masking their true source, I’ve been able to appreciate their way of thinking. I’m beginning to understand what makes them tick and why they don’t fit into the boxes I’ve been trying to put them in.
Sex, drinking, drugs, school, safety, curfew – those are issues I will never compromise on. Honestly, though, I have no control over their ultimate decisions on those topics, but I’ve made damn sure they know what the consequences are if they deviate from my “recommendations.” So, armed with that information, it’s their decision as to what outcome they desire.
Some may think this is the wrong approach or the lazy way to parent, but it is actually very difficult at times. To stand back and watch their actions put in motion a set of reactions (whether they be mine or someone else’s) makes me want to peek out from behind splayed fingers. It’s nothing short of a challenge to stay back and let them do damage control. On the flip side, when they are really thinking it out and the outcome is in their favor? It’s awesome.
It felt good to finally release the ties, because forcing the boys to do what they clearly do not want to do didn’t resonate with what I was all about – freedom of choice and independence. I’ve let my boys make choices of when to go to sleep (though the connection between late nights and being tired the next day still hasn’t sunk in), meals, what school classes to take, and friends. As long as safety isn’t an issue and they’re not hurting others, I’m good.
Which might explain why they gravitate to me and not to the “other.” That “coolness” factor I seem to have with the boys and their friends is, I believe, actually the elation they experience when they connect with who they are.
Think about the people we tend to gravitate toward – those who speak to and understand our souls. Not those who contradict or repress our fires, but those who stoke it, feed it, and encourage it to rise.
My boys’ path is their own. I’ll be there to dust off their knees, put a band-aid on a broken heart, give them advice on hangover cures, and I’ll give them room to fly, because they’ll need it to get over the Grand Canyon-size crevasse of thought that yawns between “the other half” and me.
You know what it is. Sometimes it’s hereditary, sometimes it’s picked up from the environment we’re in. It can be in the air, easily passed along from one person to another. A lot of the time we’re scratching our head wondering where the hell it came from. And it’s not gender specific. Both male and female can be afflicted.
Though there are a few people in the human population who are immune to this, like, say Mother Teresa, most of us are able to steer clear of it, but even the toughest ones can fall prey.
Like me, for example. I contracted a bout of this many years ago after being around someone with a similar affliction. It was short-lived, fortunately, but from that day on, I’ve been diligent about keeping myself free and clear.
What is this Nasty? Pure, undiluted Meanness.
The day it hit me, I had a slap-in-the-face reality check. After some particularly choice words from my ex over the subject of laundry, of all things, I came back at him with a line so vile, so below the belt, both of our jaws dropped. Neither of us could believe that I, one of the nicest people I know (okay, I’m in the top 100 of those I know), could have actually said what I did. It was so out of character, so…so…not me. All I could do was close my mouth and slink away. I couldn’t even say I was sorry. Because I had meant it at the time. That was the part that shocked me – that I was even capable of saying something so hurtful. Since that day I have kept my mind and mouth in check, because the look on my ex’s face will burn forever in my brain.
But what about others who do this on a constant basis? Earlier this week some friends, including “T” from Give Me A Valium With My Latte, and I were talking and the conversation turned to women who were nasty, bitchy, and just plain mean. We’re not talking about comments in the privacy of our own homes or amongst friends, but out-in-public mean – words intending to hurt, words that travel with such high velocity, they embed in others, compelling the receiver to “pay it forward,” or at least shoot it right back at the originator with intent to maim. It has a ripple effect and unless we’re skilled at dodging that bullet (which few of us are), many of us tend to get defensive, ball up our fists, and get ready to throw the insults right back.
That is an example of a short-lived case, sort of like the flu or a cold. As soon as the offending person leaves our orbit, we’re back to our sweet selves.
I see that situation on a daily basis with my boys. Separated, they are angels. Together, I’m packing my bags, ready for a Tijuana run just to avoid their energy. My oldest asked me once, “Mom, why is he so mean?” I wanted to shake him into next week and ask, “What do you expect when you treat him the same way?” But I didn’t. We’d had that same conversation at least one hundred times. There was no need to repeat it. My words obviously weren’t going to be sinking in anytime soon.
Some people, unfortunately, are raised in that nasty kind of environment, so when they step out their front door, they are ready to face the world with a frown and a bad attitude. They are the ones who suffer with chronic meanness. They are the ones who have no intention of entering rehab. They are the ones my friends and I were having a “discussion” about this week.
It’s sad, really. Friends and family are alienated from our lives because of the words they choose to utter. (My big brother and I, for example.) Cultures are separated because of the inability to reach for a positive or grateful thought.
I’ve never understood the concept of being mean to one another, to purposely set out to dig under another’s skin until they bleed. Perhaps it feeds the need to feel superior. I don’t know. Like I said. I don’t get it. “T” and I, along with many of my friends, prefer to live in a “no drama zone,” and I think that’s where I’m going to set up house. Not only is it easier on the body, but just think how much money we’ll save in Botox injections. Sheesh.
The life I give my boys is an outside-of-the-box kind of normal. Our house is lovingly referred to as “The Pit Stop” as we are rarely there and when we are, it’s to sleep and grab a shower and perhaps a few Z’s before we head out the door again. My erratic work and writing hours revolve around the boys’ equally erratic hours, shaped by their activities and sports. And the time that we actually spend at home, we spend together, yet apart. We have vastly different interests and temperments – I’m a hummingbird on speed, my oldest a little faster than a snail, and my youngest, somewhere in between.
I love reading, writing, exercising, yardwork…my boys don’t.
They adore Skyrim and Zelda…I don’t.
My oldest enjoys making decadent desserts. My youngest enjoys eating decadent desserts…I don’t, on either count.
My oldest and I love watching movies…my youngest doesn’t.
My youngest and I love hiking…my oldest doesn’t.
That being said, I’ve tried to reverse things a bit and make it “normal,” but failed miserably every time, ignoring the fact that when I’d tried to do what other mothers and fathers did with their family lives, it felt wrong for me, felt wrong for us.
I’ve pushed the boys on eating habits, on school, teen-tude behavior, and all I got was a big shove back. Not fun for either party involved.
Although rules and regulations are set in place, I gave up on trying to “be normal.” And it was freeing, because I didn’t have to pretend anymore. But skipping not too far behind that freedom was its annoying friend – guilt. I thought I had it all figured out when I wrote the Girl Power post, but I still found myself looking at all of my friends, wondering if I was off base. Shouldn’t I be playing board games or something?
I realized that trying to do what is “right”, for me anyway, is a lot like being a kite. Flying freely, yet anchored by the shoulds of the string, I’d feel “normal” and “accepted.”
But when the kite string is released, the more visible my free falling or “different” behavior is. While it’s kind of cool to do the rebel yell thing, there is a moment of ahh…damn…should I really be doing this?
I’ve come to the conclusion certain things aren’t going to happen – it just doesn’t work for us, no matter how hard I try. So one day after sweeping up the pieces of my latest attempts, I sat the boys down and said, “Listen. There is no ‘normal’ here. Our routine is just what happens as the day unfolds. We may not bond over playing catch, but we can bond while we do the Warrior Dash. I may not bake at Christmas time, but I’ll share a box of Oreo cookies with you. I’ll even be there for you if you want a tattoo. You know how completely unorthodox I am…”
My oldest had stopped me and said, “We know, Mom. We like you that way.”
*Happy dance* They know I love them, and that is the glue that keeps us together. But then again, it could have been the Double Stuff Oreo cookies…
During this holiday time of love, caring, and sharing our precious moments, all of us will find ourselves surrounded by our Soul Mates. This is not to be confused with Twin Flames, which I will get to in a moment.
Soul Mates are those with whom we have “contracted” with in Soul Place to be our light, to be our dark, to play our victim or devil’s advocate. They are our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, and even lovers. These roles are constantly changing through our different lifetimes for the purpose of helping us grow. Those in our Soul Group are set apart from the others we encounter in day-to-day life.
We know who our Soul Mates are. We can feel it. They are the ones we click with when we meet them at a party, high school, or college. They are the ones we stay connected with over the years and, well, connect with.
Many times someone will dreamily tell us they’ve married their Soul Mate only to end up in tears some years down the road, heartbroken that their partner was not their Soul Mate after all. The truth is that the one they “lost” actually was a Soul Mate, laced with karmic attraction, who entered into the relationship all because of an agreement made to learn/teach a lesson. And who of us has not learned something from a relationship that went sour?
It took me two long-term, major relationships to end before I realized I needed to set boundaries, to value myself, and to not give it all away at the expense of my soul. And it has turned out all right. I’m healing and they’re healing (I hope, for their sake). I’m good friends with both of my ex-partners, because after all, I’ll be seeing them again in this lifetime or the next because we have Soul Place karma together.
Recognition of the lessons we are trying to learn is key, though. We need to push our ego aside, learn what those lessons are, move on, and don’t keep entering the same types of relationships. Fortunately for me, it only took two go-arounds, but I’ve seen others who keep going back for more of the same, oftentimes lousy experiences. Failing to clear the emotional baggage will only delay our union with our Twin Flame.
And that, my friends, is the ultimate nirvana – the literal union with our other half. Upon coming into physical plane, our soul split into masculine and feminine aspects and over lifetimes, each now-complete soul seeks to evolve through the trials we have set before us. Only then will we be able to connect once again.
How do we know we have met our Twin Flame? From what I understand, the connection is so mind-blowing – way beyond the physical and emotional level – that we will just know. Period.
Chances are we have already had a connection with our Twin Flame in this lifetime, but one or the other just wasn’t quite prepared for the intensity such a union would create.
But we must be ready, because when Twin Flames do finally recognize one another, it is a magic of epic proportions. Imagine a depth of love so great that distance from one another is painful, but also a depth so great that one can feel the other’s thoughts, needs, and desires as if it is their own. The Twin Flames just know each other on a deep, deep soul level.
“…and when one of them meets their other half, the actual half of himself, the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy and one will not be out of the other’s sight for even a moment…” ~ Plato
So you tell me…have you met your Twin Flame or are you still “practicing” with a Soul Mate? Don’t be shy. It’s all good. We’re in this together….my Soul Mates.
Why is there only one day out of the year that is dedicated to verbalizing how thankful we are? Same thought with Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, Secretary’s Day, or Veterans Day. What good is acknowledging someone or something one day and leaving to chance the other 364 days of the year?
Don’t get me wrong. I love holidays and all of those special days that are set aside to showcase a certain someone or something in our lives. It’s a great reason to hug each other and have parties and buy cool stuff for others.
But what has always bothered me was that the specialness of it all was confined to 24 hours. For example, the day before Mother’s Day my boys would be in their usual form of…well, being themselves. Then on Mother’s Day, they’d turn into
perfect little angels the one day that all mothers get the day off from chores, cooking, cleaning, and if lucky, get taken out to dinner, only to find that it’s business as usual the next day. It’s a great big bone thrown to us mothers just to keep us going until the next year. Personally, I’d like to see Mother’s Day be celebrated everyday, but I would settle for once a week.
Now from November 1, when the stores start filling their aisles with Christmas stuff, when most of us get warm fuzzies and show extra love to our family and hug our neighbors, until the evening of December 25, the feeling of gratitude does prevail. It’s a beautiful and uplifting experience. I only wish that the feeling would go beyond the holiday season.
And I’m thinking Hallmark and boxed chocolate companies would make a hell of a lot more money if they would promote this idea of gratitude and giving all year round.
I must say, though, that there are a lot of people who already put this into practice – I see it all the time on social sites such as Facebook, and that’s awesome! They are all way ahead of the game. They know that giving gratitude every day (or at least the majority of the time) only brings on more people, places, and situations for which to feel grateful for.
It’s easy to forget this in the face of life’s issues, but if we can remember to be grateful for at least one thing, one person, one experience every single day, it would be my guess the world would be a better place. I know the effort that something like that takes better than anyone. My days tend to pass in a blur and my head hits the pillow at the end of the day without an utterance of thanks, but it’s something I strive to remember every day.
So, like everyone else, I’m being swept up in the season love. I’m grateful for the events that have brought me back in touch with high school friends. I’m eternally grateful for whatever inspired me to take Kristen Lamb’s blogging workshop which in turn gave me new friends from her classes (WANA sisters and big bro!) and new friends whose light I soak up in Twitterverse. I’m grateful for my family, embracing cousins, aunts, and uncles, neighbors, and friends I have known since moving to this town.
My list of gratitude is long, as I’m sure yours is as well, so I’ll leave it at that for today. Starting tomorrow, I’ll begin the list of 364 more.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!
I’m talking about the weather in my head. Yeah, there’s definitely a storm raging in there that started about 48 years ago, with no sign of slowing down. The friction from my brain cells slamming into each other alone is responsible for 99% of that heat.
So why is it that I have nothing to show for it in terms of my blog today? I mean, I literally sat in front of my computer for four hours last night – with a few attempts at inspiration, by poking the logs in the wood stove, washing dishes, snacking on hummus – with not a single blogging thought making any sort of appearance.
Topics were not a problem. Got plenty of those. The problem was that my brain just…..froze up. Creativity? Perhaps if I could have gotten a string of words on the page, I could have faked the creativity part of it, but the words were playing hide and seek with me.
I’m a pantster, I go with the flow, I react, I put out fires. I am in the moment at any given time. But I sat in a very, very, very long moment last night, just staring and wondering what the hell I was doing.
It was frustrating to say the least. Although I have had to cut back on blogging temporarily to once a week (because I am putting energy into my next novel which, by the way, is in the home-stretch stage) I love getting on here and saying something…anything…to spark a discussion.
Some of the frigidity may be due to the fact that a lot is going on in my personal life. (The most interesting by far is the suspicion that my father’s will looks like it has been tampered with/switched out/forged, courtesy of two gold-digging family members – and I use the term “family” loosely.) Be that as it may, even in the midst of the day job, kiddy care, and other goings-on, I’m usually able to slip into the writing world without too much problem, being able to start with a single sentence and get the blog going from there.
Last night was different for some reason and I don’t really know why. As a big fan of Mike Dooley, I’m taking his advice and I won’t try to figure it out because spending energy on the whys won’t propel me forward. It will just keep me in a holding pattern of stagnation.
Don’t worry, I’ll be back again with some incredibly interesting post. *wink* I’m just going to chill for a couple of days and let my brain thaw. My WANA sister, Angela Peart, suggested I try sleeping. Hmm. As crazy as that sounds, it might just work.
I’m thinking that I’m not alone in this and that most of you writers and bloggers come up empty on occasion as well.
Do me a favor, then. Let me know what you do to switch those gears and get back on track. Does this happen to you very often? Am I lacking something (besides sleep)? Do I need to switch coffee brands? Perhaps to a darker roast? Should I up the chocolate intake? Drink more? Drink less?
What is your magic bullet? I’d really love to know!
I have a three-strike rule.
Regardless of how I initially feel about something, I’ll do it – going somewhere, seeing someone, whatever. Within reason, of course, but I’ll make an effort. The three-strike rule goes like this – whenever obstacles pop up, making it difficult to do said task, I’ll move past it and keep trying. I will go so far as to ignore the second obstacle that tells me “Do not pass go, do not collect $200,” and keep going, but I usually draw the line at the third obstacle when I will take notice and throw in the towel. I’m just persistent that way.
I know that before any decision, large or small, I really should listen to my intuition to see if what I am about to do is the right choice, but I don’t, so thus the reason for the three-strike rule. Some sort of a compromise between my impetuous and conservative natures.
But one year I didn’t heed the signs and just burst through them, guns a-blazing. Why? Because I thought what my family and I were about to do was so damn cool, so renegade, so free.
Well, that one year I spent pushing the envelope, was a year I’ll never forget. About nine years ago, I was bored and needed a change. Fortunately, the ex and I were on the same wavelength and, being that I could work on the road via satellite internet (we had bought a mobile one), there was nothing to stop us. So we sold almost everything we owned, put some stuff in storage, bought a 34-foot motorhome, and headed across the country.
We started out in March, I think it was, and mapped out a route going south from Central California down towards Arizona. It was our intention to stay south and make our way up to Indiana in time to see the Indy 500 (my ex’s big dream). Everything was going fine until we were in Huachuca City, Arizona, and it started to snow. We were headed towards Albuquerque, New Mexico when the weather channel reported tornado warnings popping up everywhere.
Let’s mark that as sign #1.
So we turned back around, warmed up in Palm Springs for a couple of days, then headed towards the northern route, thinking we might have a better shot at missing one of those tornadoes. But, as it turned out, they chased us.
Halfway across a seriously long stretch of lonely highway in Wyoming, where the wind howled like a banshee, our awning let loose and damn near turned into a parachute. Trying to get it back under control in a hurricane-like wind was really hard.
A smaller sign, so we’ll mark that as sign #1A.
In South Dakota, in the middle of the night, I remember staring out the window of the motorhome in total disbelief at a lightning storm – not one of those storms when the sky lights up every few minutes or so. No. In this little display, the sky lit up nonstop. Literally nonstop. The rain was coming down so hard, I had to yell at my ex to be heard. NOAA radio tracked a tornado 30 miles away, headed in our direction. The crazy part was that no one in the RV park was freaking out. The office was closed and there was nobody to ask what to do. For a girl who grew up in Southern California, this was incomprehensible. I was looking for some underground shelter, but none existed. Anywhere. All I could do at the time was hope that the storm would fade away before the tornado got too close.
I raised my cup of tea (with a shot of brandy in it) to sign #2.
There continued to be storm after storm, and we continued to look over our shoulders, storm after storm. This entire time I was working full time via the satellite, homeschooling the boys, and with the added lessons in the force of Mother Nature, my nerves were being stepped on.
Another shaker-upper happened somewhere between South Dakota and Indiana, on a really busy freeway, going freeway speed, when we came way too close to demolishing a truck that was at a standstill in one of the lanes. No hazard lights, no flares, no nothing. Do you have any idea how hard it is to stop a 20,000-pound vehicle going 70 miles an hour? It’s possible, with a little bit of time, but we had none. Fortunately, the shoulder was clear and my ex was able to steer around the truck before swerving back onto the freeway. Can you imagine what that looked like? I’m thinking that wouldn’t have been a happy ending for anybody if the shoulder hadn’t been clear.
My heart hammered at sign #3.
By then, my nerves were crushed. But, damn it. Stuff like this happens all the time, doesn’t it? So with our blinders firmly strapped on, we forged ahead.
Finally, we made it to the Indy 500. My ex went by himself and left me and the boys at the RV park. It didn’t take long for the weather to turn sour. Then…guess what…sirens. Loud sirens. And I’m not talking police or fire truck sirens. They were sirens of the natural disaster type. Tornado type. I got out of the motorhome, looked at everyone running around, and said in my calmest voice to the nearest woman dashing by, “Where are we supposed to go?” Her reply in her most frantic voice was, “To the lower bathrooms!”
The bathrooms? Was she kidding? The bathrooms? Hiding from a possible tornado with winds up to 100+ miles an hour in a bathroom? Seeing no other option, I did whatever any good woman would do…I called the ex and told him he’d better come back, I grabbed the boys and their bike helmets, and headed for the bathrooms, which, to my untrained eye, were pathetically inadequate.
The women and children sat in the bathroom and waited, listening to portable radios for news of disaster, while the men, macho as they were, stood outside the bathroom door, arms crossed over their chests, like some sort of sentry, looking at the sky. Not terribly comforting. I felt better under the sinks with my arms wrapped around the boys and my arm linked through the plumbing.
Let’s label that as sign #4, shall we?
As it turned out, a tornado had touched down three miles from where we were. Too close. Hell, any tornado touching down in the same state was too close. But did we heed that sign? No….
We continued east, determined to make it to the coast and head south to Florida. Still the storms chased us. NOAA was our constant friend. I was beginning to find it a little difficult to enjoy the scenery when I was always looking to the sky. We stayed at a couple of RV parks where tornadoes had dropped down not two days before we arrived. Sign, sign, sign. By the time we made it to Niagara Falls in New York, I was done. I wasn’t quite up to pressing our luck by heading east any more. Besides, by turning around, we were going to be headed straight into the very same storms that chased us. Kind of a buzz-kill.
We made it back in one piece to California, a little wiser, a little traveled, a little in debt, with memories wonderful and not so wonderful. It was fun for the most part, but in all honesty, I think I would have been better off listening to that little nagging voice in my head that kept telling me to turn us around. The stress made me a little bitchy, a little closed off, and a whole lot paranoid for months afterward whenever clouds rolled in. Tornadoes, to me, are too unpredictable and as crazy as it sounds, I’d take a California earthquake over a tornado any day.
P.S. At one point the Indy 500 was postponed because a tornado had touched down not too far from the track. Sign. And all of the tornadoes? It was reported to be the worst tornado season on record – Typically 500-600 tornadoes in the season, this one had 500 in the month of May alone. Just my luck.
So, do you listen to that “inner voice?” Do you have a three-strike rule? Where do you draw the line?
Since Sunday night at 5:20 p.m. to be exact. For about 36 hours now.
Though I had felt as if I had no parents for many, many years, this made it a hard core reality. I had shunned both of my parents long ago, never wanting to have anything to do with them (damn, I was so proud of myself, being so independent and all). My mother had died 17 years ago, but there was still another half of the parenting duo alive, and despite the fact that we were separated by hundreds of miles, my father was always there for me to ignore.
What a hollow victory this turned out to be.
A week ago my aunt Mary called from the hospice center where they had taken my father. Apparently what the doctors diagnosed five weeks ago as a urinary tract infection, turned out to be a stroke, and his condition had deteriorated since. It’s been a bit on the stressful side, due to my oldest brother’s immoral and illegal conduct – I’m setting that one aside for another blog…or a novel…**counting on fingers how many times he has tried to screw the family**…No. Definitely a novel.
I apologize, I digress.
So, last week my aunt called me from the hospice center to let me know my father was unresponsive. She offered to hold the phone up to his ear so I could say something to him. I hesitated, because I really had nothing to say. I had made my peace on my own, so what was left? But my brother was on his way out to Arizona from California, and once he got there, I knew I wouldn’t have another chance. I didn’t know what I could say. All I knew was that I didn’t want to have any regrets.
Death is a process, a very personal journey, and I wanted to respect that. So instead of taking the stance of daughter-to-father and get in his face, I decided to go toe-to-toe, soul-to-soul. I could see no other way.
Later my aunt would tell me that when I first spoke to him, with her cell phone to his ear, his labored breathing had slowed, as if to hear me better, and as I spoke, his eyes moved behind his lids. He had heard me.
I opened my heart up as wide as I could and tried to see the playing field for what it was. Completely off kilter. I was strong, healthy, with at least another 50 years with which to make good with myself. His body was shutting down. His life was coming to an end. Another soul, another incarnation, just waiting…waiting for whatever moment souls wait for before they let go.
I couldn’t even begin to question his life’s plan, because I don’t really even know my own. All I knew was that moment was not the time to speculate. That would be his job…once he had passed. Neither was it a time to judge, condemn, or hold a grudge. That never did any good anyway – in life or death.
So I said what I needed to say and told him good-bye, feeling as if there was so much more to say, regretting that I didn’t say more. But it didn’t matter. My brother had arrived at the hospice center, threw a hissy fit as only my 50-year-old brother can, and my aunt, my only connection to my father, left the hospice center for the last time.
A week had passed since then and each day my father did what he had to do to complete his life. I wish I knew what went on inside his head – so different, I’m sure, from what went on in mine.
To everyone who might ask, “Are you okay?” My answer is: I think I am. I feel a touch of sadness, perhaps for what never was and never could be – at least with any sort of normalcy. I feel cheated, like…This is it? Is that all I get? Born into a dysfunctional family, growing up in an abusive environment, separation, and then death? What the hell was that all about?
I’d released the hold he had on me, but his passing truly severed it. Now there is no going back. There is only moving forward.
You may be wondering what I said to him and, as always, my friends, I invite you into my head.
“Whether this was a part of the plan we agreed upon in Soul Place, or you just made really poor choices and went way off course, we both ended up in a place I wish we hadn’t. I’m sad for the years that could have been, happy for the years that weren’t.
I love your soul, but not your heart, because it never was with me. I trust you will find your lessons learned and the time here well spent. For now, Godspeed. I wish you well.
Say hi to Mom for me. I’ve tried, but with all the voices in my head, I can’t hear her say anything back.
I don’t know what else to say, so I guess I’ll say good-bye for now.
I’ll catch you on the flip side, Dad. I’ll catch you on the flip side.”
When someone asks for forgiveness, who actually benefits? According to Merriam-Webster, to forgive is to give up resentment of or claim to requital for an insult. To cease to feel resentment against an offender.
I would imagine that the forgivee would potentially have a clear conscience, but what about the one who does the forgiving? Can they really, truly “cease to feel resentment?”
I had to answer that question, or at least explore it, almost 18 years ago.
For the ten years prior to 1994, I had chosen to maintain a very large distance from my mother. If you’ve been following my blog, you may remember how she turned her back on me when I needed her, how she violated my privacy and betrayed me when I was in high school. I held a lot of resentment over those incidents, along with a few others, and just needed to stay away. I grew comfortable in my self-imposed no-fly zone, knowing she was still out there, but unable to hurt me any longer. I was able to say I didn’t care anymore and that I didn’t need her. She had taught me to be self-sufficient because I had no one else to turn to while growing up. Yeah, I was tough.
Until the phone call.
She put an end to the silence to tell me she was just diagnosed with cancer. The doctors were giving her 18 months to live. For me, that meant I had 18 months to figure this whole resentment thing out.
It took me awhile to shuffle around my value and priority system, but by that time she found the doctors had miscalculated her life expectancy. Eighteen months now shrunk down to four. With hardly any time left, I put my feelings aside and visited her as much as I could. In the end I stayed with her 24/7, shooting her up with morphine every two hours, until at 5:00 p.m. on Easter Sunday afternoon in 1994, she finally let go.
I thought a lot about forgiveness during those weeks and if I was capable of it. Whether or not she looked for my forgiveness, I’ll never know, because hashing over the past seemed pointless when the moments of the future were dwindling.
Now, almost two decades later, I find the resentment still holds, though it has dulled to a whisper. I haven’t thought too much about the reasons behind it, because it is what it is, and I’ve moved on. Yeah, I’m tough.
Until the phone call.
My aunt called last night to tell me my father was taken to the hospital. He has had some health issues he refuses to take care of, and though he was admitted for a urinary tract infection, I can’t help but remember a urinary tract infection was what my grandfather had been admitted for 18 years ago, and he never came home (he died two days before my mother…ugh).
With what my father put me through, will I be able to face him again? Will I sit at his side as I did my mother and hold his hand? Though I’ve matured enough to let that resentment go, I’m not certain I’d go so far as to forgive him. Surprisingly, twenty-five years of separation still hasn’t made me feel clean enough to be in the same room with him.
But I guess I’ll never know if my mind will change as it did with my mother until I’m forced to make a choice. And knowing me the way I do, *big sigh,* I’d better start putting away for a ticket to Arizona.
How about you? Are you quick to forgive? Is it any easier to forgive someone near and dear to you as opposed to someone not so close? And in your heart, do you truly forgive? Please, I’d love to hear your thoughts!