Friday, September 24, 2010

My Process of Letting Go...

I spent an awesome few hours with a friend  yesterday.. made some more sweet memories that I will hold close to my heart..a spontaneous kind of day, but sometimes those end up being the best kind of days... no expectations, just letting the time happen...
We talked and listened.. and... as usual.. I got home and layed awake thinking about all the things I probably should have said..and didn't...but maybe it's ok that I didn't...
We are both in different stages of processing grief and  letting go..
For everyone the processes are different, and that's ok.. the whole grief experience is the same, but different for everyone...and there is no timetable for that process to be completed... if it ever really is..
For me, I think my process started years ago...but came to a head when my mom died, and continues with the process of grieving the loss of my friend..and all that went on during that time.
Losing loved ones brings so much "stuff" up.. it's not always just about them being physically gone... It's about the loss of what we wish we had shared with them, expectations of things we hoped that we would share with that loved one...a relationship we hoped that would form..things we wish we had said.. etc...love we hoped to receive..
For me,.... my family and I up and moved, left our jobs...schools..family, friends.. to take care of my parents...I had these hopes and dreams of having that mother/daughter relationship I never had..Hopes of healing and understanding a dad I never understood..The family connection that I so longed for.. I had pictures in my head of all the bonding things we would do...of things we would share, things we would say that we should have said years ago... but just didn't.. for whatever reason...
But it wasn't meant to be.. it didn't happen...
Nine months after we moved to care for them.. the Alzheimer's decline accelerated.. in both of them.....I had to place them in a nursing home so they would be safe and given the care I just couldn't give....
I never got to say things I needed to say. I didn't get that relationship I was so hoping for.. the love I so desperately had wanted..
I became really angry and bitter through the years of watching my parents decline..all that we gave up to care for them.. only to have them nine months..I was almost angry at them for getting sick...and having to be responsible for them...It was such a heavy load.I guess the anger was my reaction to the losses....I didn't understand why I would be given a family.. only to have it taken away.. AGAIN! ..and in such an awful way..... Why always being the "good" person, only seemed to bring me heartache...
Then my friend got cancer...
The walls of protecting myself went up even higher..I was done loving people.. it hurt too much.. opening up to love, and then have them leave me... I didn't want to do it anymore..It has happened too many times in my life
The anger and grief were flowing strong.. Why the heck did I have to keep losing people??  My whole life was about loss and losing people...
But a  funny thing was happening during all this time and grief ..
I had found myself in quite a funk after my mom died..and knowing my friend was dying too didn't help..and added to it.
I began to think about my mom's life... and the things that she consciously had taught me, and things she didn't know she taught me.... I began to focus on the positive memories she left me and my family...the smiles shared, the love for my kids...the lessons of faith, she lived..
I thought about all the hurts, regrets...things longed for...
I realized that being angry, bitter, sad....wasn't really accomplishing anything.. I realized, for me.. part of the letting go process..for me to TRULY let go... I had to forgive her...my dad...and myself... I had to let go of all those things that were holding me back... all the painful memories...I HAD to let go of the pain..to move forward
The hurts...regrets...expectations...they were keeping me in the grief....because I couldn't let go of them....
I realized that my parents idea of love, wasn't necessarily the same as mine.. and I realized that THAT was ok.. They loved the best THEY knew how...and I had to accept that, and that just because it wasn't the same as how I thought it should be.. didn't mean  it wasn't right, or that they didn't love me.. it was just different.
Forgiveness is such a freeing thing... It frees you in so many ways..To love.. to live...to laugh..
I've also realized that people are people. We're all different in our thoughts and ideas of what life and love look like....That life is life..we don't really have a say in it.. it just happens.. and it's not always what we want....but it's just how it is...and I have to choose how I'm going to deal with whatever comes my way...I'm choosing to let go...and move on...
I've learned that my idea of "family" isn't necessarily how it has to be....Through my journey of loss and grief... thru the lonely years growing up... God has placed people in my life that are more like family than my own family  ever really was... I don't know why.. I don't really need to know why.. I just know that I am extremely thankful for each person that has come into my life.. spoken into it... loved me in it...accepted me for who I am, unconditionally.
Being adopted.. I know that "family" isn't  always about the blood ties... it's really about the love, trust...laughter and tears shared with someone who unconditionally loves you.Someone you know that will always be there for you.. regardless of what you've done, or said...
God gives, and God takes away.. I don't understand that at all anymore...but I'm choosing to enjoy the time I have with everyone I love... Life is too short not to...and I'm going to cherish each moment.. and know that YES.. someday these loved ones will let me down sometimes, and that they may be gone someday too.. but I will not have any regrets... I'm going to love and give, and make someone smile...the best I can...and be ok knowing I've done my best...
Choosing to let go of pain and grief, and choosing love...is so freeing.
That is not to say I won't always remember my loved ones I've lost.. I hold them tight in my heart... I think of them everyday...I know there will be tough days, and that I  will have moments of sadness...but I don't let the sadness and grief  take me away and keep me from living anymore... I can't...
So ...I'm choosing to live..and remember the good memories, and not dwell on the bad ones.. it's what they would want me to do...It is what I need to do for myself and those that love me..I have made a choice to look at the grief and sorrow, and find the positives that came from the experience.. the growth, the blessings..If I hadn't gone thru what I've gone thru...I wouldn't have learned so much about forgiveness..the importance of the little things...the preciousness of friendships...and life. That I am strong...
I'm  learning  to open up and love... and let others love me...It's pretty much an awesome thing to do...You miss out on so much when you wall up and not let love and people in....and...
If you do find that someone or a friend to love.. that unconditional kinda love...grab onto it...hold it tight, cherish it.. and never let it go..don't be afraid of it!....it's so very precious!
Life is funny...but it's full of blessings if we just open our eyes every morning and choose to see them. Life is also full of hurts and pain... loss and grief.. but mingled in it all....there is joy in this journey of Life...it's just out there waiting for us to see it,  grasp it...embrace it...and share it...

2 comments:

www.mysisterdalesgarden.com said...

What an honest and intimate post. You cover pain, loss, grief and so much more. I can relate to losing a loved one. I found comfort in planting a memorial garden that I share with others who are grieving. www.mysisterdalesgarden.com

Melanie said...

God is and has been hard at work in you, for you and through you! Thanks for sharing your journey. You are loved much beyond your awareness! I am blessed to call you friend...