Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Post Estrangement: Staying connected with my grandson

I write to my grandson everyday. I fill pages for him with stories and advice and all kinds of things that I wish to share with him. I do this for me, because it allows me to experience being a grandmother in that I am doing something for my grandson. I do this for him, so that someday he will have a legacy of who I was and how much I cherished him from afar.

As I was sitting at my desk today contemplating what to share with him I came across this meme  

This inspired me to write to him under the "advice" column of my daily letter.  

Advice for you Walter from your Mamma-rae:  
"Don't Give Up"  

Walter, this is a powerful statement; “don’t give up”.  There are always challenges in life.  There are things that go wrong in life.  There things that totally through you down and knock you out. That is the nature of life.

Even when things are in the midst of going really well along comes some catastrophe that can shatter all your dreams and illusions of what the possibilities are or might be.

And some people are destroyed by those events.  They live in the trauma of that shattering event for the rest of their lives.  And others, pick up the pieces and the broken bits and figure out a way to make something new with what remains. 

Neither path is easy!   The former is filled with the excruciating pain of reliving the traumatic event, the fear, the sorrow, the anger, the suffering.  That is surely not an easy life to lead!

The other path requires facing facts and resolving to do whatever it takes to somehow move forward beyond the tragedy.  It requires courage to face what is the reality of the tragedy with honesty and then bravely march forward into the unknown.

What I wish for you dear grandson is that courage.  May you always be able to pick up the broken pieces of whatever life throws at you and create something new and whole and good and worthwhile.

Your loving Mamma-rae.

And as I wrote it I realized something profound.  I have to live my life as an example of how to deal with tragedy if I want to be a role model for my grandson. 

The tragedy we share, is that we are never going to reclaim the time together that has been taken from us.  But I can by my actions show him that even this tragedy can be an inspiration to creating something of value.  As I write to him as an alternative to seeing him, I show him that I took the initiative to remain connected to him under less than ideal conditions. 

I also plan to show him by life stories, my adventure tales, my poetry and art work which I share with him, that I found a way to create a good life out of the tragedy of estrangement.  This is the legacy I wish to give my grandson.

Renate Dundys Marrello 

photo credit:  as marked or unknown 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Hidden Tears - Poetry for P.E.A.C.E.

(Parents of Estranged Adult Children Everywhere)

I am in the process of compiling my poetry about the emotions of estrangement.  As I review and edit I will share some with you my dear readers.   If all goes well this book will soon be ready for print.

What is grief?

Anguish upon awakening
Bemoaning what’s lost
Can you imagine?
Desolation and despair
Energy that evaporates
Feeling of isolation

Gloom and doom
Hurting with heartbreak
Injury to mind
Jaded viewpoint

Keening cry crescendos
Lamenting future lost
Melancholy overtakes me
Nobody can fathom
Overwhelming agony of
Pain filled days

Quiet nights weeping
Regrets and remorse
Sadness and sorrow
Torturous mind speak

Unwelcome painful reminders
Vex my remembering
Wretchedness my companion
Xiphoid stab wounds
Yet life continues
Zombie like walking

© Renate Dundys Renate Dundys-Marrello
2013 – 03 - 14
Scotland - Edinburgh - "Climbing Arthru's Seat"

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Reflections on Making Lent Meaningful to me.

Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday and I celebrated with a pancake breakfast.  

Today I spent some time contemplating how to bring meaning to this years Lent season.

Lent is supposed to be a time of reflection on many levels. 

The level I most connect with is the late winter season of scarcity in agricultural societies.  The spring planting is still weeks away.  Stores are running low and homemakers are trying to figure out ways to make what little foods remain stretch till the first spring crops are ready for harvesting. Daily sacrifices are needed to make it through this time. 

We don't experience this hardship in our global world with foods transported in from warmer climates.   And yet this is a time to reflect on the nature of sacrifice.  

As a parent I feel that over the years I have made many sacrifices for my children and my family.  Sacrifices I was happy to make, sacrifices that I embraced for the greater good. 

Being estranged has made me aware of how much I have lost and how quickly what we take for granted can be taken away from us.  I don't feel I can give anything up for Lent, as I have already been deprived of too much. 

However I will strive to give up some of my hurt feelings. I will struggle to let go of my resentment. I will endeavor to let go of the grudges I have toward those who have hurt me.

I will strive to feel forgiveness in my heart for those who have hurt me. Every day I will pray to feel more forgiving.  

I will let go of my need to hold on to the past.  A past that I can not change.  

I will let go of my need to cling to pain that no longer serves me.  

I will let go of anger that prevents me from healing.  

I will let go of resentment and grievances.

I will let go of self blame.  

I will let go of all things that I can not control.  

I will let go of all the things that weigh me down.  

I will instead embrace that my life is filled with possibilities that I have not yet found. 

Here, as I stand facing the reality that those sacrifices of years gone by were deemed insufficient, I find that I have new perspective.   I understand better the the sacrifices others make.   I want to give credit to those who make sacrifices on a daily basis.  I want to honour them this year in a totally different manner. I want to honour them by expressing my gratitude for all the blessings in my life and by giving back to others by sharing of my time and my blessings. 

This year I have decided that I am not going to focus on giving up, instead I am going to focus on giving back.

#1    I will strive to do something nice for someone every day.  I will pay it forward every day for the next 40 days.  

 #2   I will strive everyday to think of something to be especially thankful for and count my blessings.  I will remember to honour all those who contribute to 
society and make my life a little bit better. 

#3  I will forgive everyone who asks me for forgiveness and will gladly and willing atone for any wrongs I may 
have committed. 

Renate Dundys Marrello 

photo credits - as marked or unknown 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Post Estrangement - Seeking to Mend a Broken Heart

14 Days of Self Appreciation Challenge:   Day 14

February 14th  Mending a Broken Heart 

In my younger days I remember listening to this song.  I know it kind of dates me right! But back in those days you connected to the heart break of romantic love. But read the words again in the aftermath of estrangement and it speaks to the broken heart of a parent neglected, abandoned, isolated and alone.  

“I can still feel the breeze that rustles through the trees
And misty memories of days gone by
We could never see tomorrow,
No one said a word about the sorrow

And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
How can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again”

In the aftermath of being estranged I remember days of heartache.  I remember the heartbreak of rejection and I remember clearly feeling that I finally totally understood that nature of heart ache.

Some days the ache was so intense breathing was difficult and even painful. It was like a heavy weight lay upon my chest. 
Sometimes the tears never stopped flowing. At at other times my jaw ached with the effort of holding back the unshed tears. 

There were days when my heart beat so rapidly and erratically that I believed I might be on death's door, and I went to sleep fully expecting to not awaken. 

I remember days of feeling so numb; like my ability to love had been erased from my life.
I remember feeling like I would never be able to love again.
I remember that feeling of aching emptiness that a world without love represents.

And I also remember wondering if my grown up child understood what it means to love? I wondered too if she had any comprehension as to the effects of her actions.

I also remember slowly, painfully, hesitantly starting learn to love again, allowing new people into my life and connecting with the feelings of caring and belonging once more.

There is still an emptiness in that corner of my heart where memories of my estranging daughter live.  I once was asked to explain how I was feeling and I remember my words very clearly,  "It is like a piece of my heart, a piece of me has died, a piece of me is missing".

When I think of my daughter I still feel that statement is true for me.  I fill that corner now with precious memories locked safely away because if I examine them too closely renewed heart ache is just a heartbeat away. Even now I fear I have unlocked the door too long to examine these feelings and I am almost overwhelmed that even after all this time my feelings are still too raw to examine closely.

Today’s Valentine’s Day self-affirmation gift to myself is a Heart Healing Ritual.  To remind myself that even in the aftermath of heart break there is the opportunity to love again.  That I am not destined to live a loveless life simply because my child decided I was not worth loving and decided to use the withholding of love as a punishment.  In the aftermath of estrangement I give myself a gift of love on Valentine's Day. 

Heart Healing Essential Oil Ritual

I will use this ritual to recall that there are others who love me, who want me in their lives.

I will use this ritual to remind me that there are countless others out there needing the love that I have to share.

I will use this ritual to remind myself that I am a good and lovable person.

I will use this ritual to affirm self-love and validation.

Prepare Heart Chakra Anointing Oil Ritual –
10ml of Sunflower Oil or Almond Oil + 10 drops of essential oil  (2 drops Rose, 2 drops Jasmine, 2 drops Lavender, 2 drops Melissa, 2 drops Ylang Ylang)

Prepare a quiet, peaceful, restful and comfortable place for the ceremony
  • Place a drop of oil on each chakras point – crown chakra, third eye chakra, throat chakra, heart chakra, sacral chakra and base/root chakra. Say to myself; “I honour, love and respect myself.”
  • Rub a small amount on the underside of the nostrils so that each breathe is filled with the aroma, and say “I honour, love and respect myself."
  • Place a drop of oil into each palm, then rub them together saying “I honour, love and respect myself.”
  • Place my hands together but open in front of my nose inhaling the aroma, saying “I honour, love and respect myself.”
  • Inhale the aroma, meditate and turn my focus inward to my dreams and wishes, prayers and desires.
  • Continue this process for about 5 minutes or as long as feels right.
  • When finished, take the palms of the hands into a prayer position, symbolically holding my wishes, desires, dreams and prayers in my hands. Bring my hands down in front of my heart space.
  • Remain quietly, breathing deeply, and bring my attention to the aroma in my nose and inhaling I feel my chest and my heart in the centre of my chest.
  • I tell my heart one positive thing.  Now I listen to what my heart is telling me.

And so ends my 14 day journey of self-affirmations.   I feel grateful that I was able to finish this journey.  To those of you who have followed along with me, I hope you have been inspired to following a healing journey of your own.  Please feel free to share your stories of healing with me. Either here of on My Facebook Reflections Page

Renate Dundys Marrello
2015 – 02 – 14

photo credits - as marked or unknown 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Post-Estrangement – From Powerless to Empowered.

14 Days of Self Appreciation Challenge:   Day 13

February 13th  

To be estranged by an adult child is to be robbed of power.  The powerless comes from several sources. 

  • Not knowing why the estrangement was started creates powerlessness.
  • Having attempts at communication ignored creates powerlessness.
  • Being in a position of having to defend ones actions creates a loss of power.
  • Having to walk on “egg shells” for fear of making the situation worse, diminishes power
  • Knowing that regardless of which action you take, you will still be in the wrong creates a sense of futility and powerlessness.
  • Feeling victimized creates a sense of helplessness and loss of power
  • The act of becoming hidden or having to hide a segment of your life robs you of power.
  • Realizing that you no longer understand your offspring diminishes your sense of control over your life reality and thus your power.
  • Feeling like a failure in your past destroys your personal sense of accomplishment and leaves you feeling powerless over being able to determine your future.
  • Knowing that there is nothing you can do to end the situation leaves you powerless.
  • The spiraling emotions of grief and trauma leave you emotionally confused and powerless.
  • Not knowing if there can be an ending to the horror of the situations leaves you defenseless and without power.

Somewhere along the path of grieving this message sunk deep into my spirit.  I felt that I had no control over any of the
events in my life.  I was adrift on currents that were dragging me willy nilly against my wishes in directions I had no desire to travel and toward destinations I did not choose.  This sense of powerlessness depleted my energy.  Projects that once were easy to plan and execute took enormous effort to accomplish.  Other projects became impossible to start.  Inertia set in deepening my sense of powerlessness. 

My healing journey has increasingly been about taking back a sense of control.  I starting with being able to say “I deserved better” and to realize that this is the truth.  To be able to think in terms of I deserve respect for what I have accomplished; rather than being discarded for my mistakes. To gradually saying this is how I feel about the way I was treated and I will not be silenced. 

Slowly I am becoming empowered and slowly I am able to say I deserve to be empowered.  Tasks and new projects are becoming easier to undertake.  I like this change.  Today’s gift of self-appreciation to myself is to celebrate the journey toward empowerment that I am on.

My project today is to create a runic mandala symbolizing the elements that I feel are connected with empowerment.
I will meditation on the symbolic significance of each rune as I incorporate it into my mandala

The rune Sigel in red to symbolizes the life force, the energy of essential power.

The rune Tyr in red to represent strength and protection, the warrior within, 

The rune Os in orange to represent vitality, and brings in the essence of potency, courage, and strength. 

The rune Man in yellow to symbolize intellect, a request for self-knowledge.

The rune Feoh in green to represent expansion and abundance, prosperity, growth and universal love.

The rune Wyn in light or sky blue to represent expression and communication and symbolize spiritual gain, joy and self-achievement.

The rune Lagu in dark blue or indigo to symbolize synthesis and inner wisdom.

The rune Ken in violet or purple to represent spirituality and spiritual guidance.

The rune Eolh in white which represent healing and integrations and spiritual assistant, shielding and protection.  A symbolic connection to the higher Self and Spirit, the universal mind.

Surround the basic mandala with further thoughts and meditations:

The rune Is in silver to represent receptivity to the changes I wish to make, and the inner journey I have embarked upon. 

The rune Nyd in grey to symbolize flexibility, endurance, persistence and resolve to accomplish the changes that I desire.

The rune Man again, this time in gold, to represent activity, and self-activation.  To activate the energies to accomplish the changes I desire.

The rune Haegl in black, to symbolize release and the energy of change and transformation. 

When completed this art project will represent my intentions for change toward self-empowerment.  When I have placed it where I can see it easily I will be reminded of today’s gift to myself, the journey of transformation from powerless to empowered!  I take back my life. I celebrate this as a victory in healing and recovery from the trauma of estrangement.

Renate Dundys Marrello
2015 – 02 – 13

photo credits - as marked or unknown 

My journal blog entries are copyright

I love when you share my page to spread the word.
If you want to quote me I kindly ask that you please provide a link back to my page. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Post-Estrangement - Finding My Way Back to Exuberance

14 Days of Self Appreciation Challenge:   Day 12

February 12th   

Living with estrangement fills our daily journey with all kinds of challenges.

The emotions that change constantly always leave you feeling a little off balance.  

The circular thinking about the past and resolving nothing leaves you feeling defeated.  

But the most debilitating for me has been this sense of living in a fog. 

Nothing seems real.
Nothing is really clear. 
Nothing else really matters.
I look out the window and don't recall what I see.
At the end of the day I don't recall what I accomplished.
I exist but I don’t thrive.

I look back over the past several years and realize that often I have gone through the motions of living but without enthusiasm or exuberance.  

I often caught myself with what I label, “my social mask” on; doing and saying all the right things but without connection to the moment or without any real meaning. My body was there, but my soul was not.  It was just one more form of disconnect that I was experiencing.  

I look back to my “pre-estrangement life” and envy the vitality and passion with which I faced every day.  I know there were challenges and difficulties, but they never prevented me from working with passion and energy toward solutions.  I got up in the morning eager and ready to tackle the challenges.  Each day was filled with opportunities to accomplish and achieve.   I had boundless energy.  I was never bogged down by my long list of daily activities and chores and to do’s.

After estrangement, the simple act of getting up in the morning and facing the day was difficult. Getting dressed a challenge. Going out was often an impossibility.  I relished my angry days because the adrenaline of anger got me through chores that were put off during the denial or sad days.

Healing strategies have helped me put a more balanced perspective on my life.  The routine of certain practices have helped put a schedule to my day.  Gratitude lists and documenting happy moments in my life have lifted me up out of the fog, by creating order out of the chaos of estrangement.

But I still find myself yearning for my old friends "Passion" and  “Exuberance”.   

I look at my lists of wonderful things I want to do, and my mind is willing by my spirit isn't.  

I feel pleasure occasionally. My smile is less forced and more real.  However, there is a certain something, a certain spark, still missing. 

Today’s Self-Affirmation Gift to myself is, to try to connect once more with Passion and Exuberance.  And here, I must confess, I am skeptical.  There seems to be this chasm between wanting and feeling.  And even as I write this I feel myself doubting.  However, I have learnt in my healing journey, that the first step often involves “acting as if”.  There is only the knowing that this is what I need to do and then doing the action in anticipation of the result. 

And so I propose to face this challenge from that perspective. I will
recall that a ritual can be used to move me through a transition, release and heal the past and move me toward regeneration. 

My healing Ritual to recover Passion and Exuberance 

Statements that I will ponder and write notes on:

Passion and Exuberance can be cultivated through the habits that I maintain.  I choose to plan my daily schedule according to the lifestyle I wish to embrace.

Passion and Exuberance thrive in emptiness.  Creativity needs space to grow.  I choose to give my creativity an opportunity to grow.  My schedule will include time to let things flow.  I no longer need the security of distractions and am ready to allow myself to just “see what comes up”.  I give myself permission to dream and explore that creative landscape.

Passion and Exuberance need a refreshed mind:  I will start each day in quiet meditation or prayer. I will allow myself time to renew my heart and my spirit and my mind.

Passion and Exuberance need to be released.  I have lists of things that I enjoy.  It is time that I explore those challenges so that at the end of the day I can say to myself “well done for accomplishing that”

Passion and Exuberance reside outside my comfort zone.  I will allow myself to be vulnerable, to share my creativity with others.  I will challenge myself to try new and different or difficult things.

Passion and Exuberance require me to relinquish control.  I will accept that in the unknown there are possibilities.

Passion and Exuberance provide energy and motivation.  I will allow my goals and dreams to propel me into the future by the actions I am prepared to take.

Passion and Exuberance is reciprocal.   I will share my enthusiasm with others so that their energy will be reflected back at me.

Passion and Exuberance are not a destination they are the journey.   I will embrace all the hills and valleys of the journey and welcome the roadblocks to be overcome.  

Passion and Exuberance embrace all time lines.  I will take inspiration from the past, dream toward the future and celebrate each moment in the present.

Renate Dundys Marrello
2015 - 02 - 12 

photo credits - as marked or unknown 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Post estrangement – Reclaiming and Re-affirming My Good Character.

February 11th 
14 Days of Self Appreciation Challenge:   Day 11 

Estrangement causes harm on many levels.  The one we most often focus on is the feeling of abandonment, of being rejected, of not being good enough or of insufficient value to warrant working things out.  Naturally this is devastating all on its own.  Then there are all the areas associated with grieving and loss that consume us day in and day out. 

However, there is an even uglier side to estrangement that gets alluded to but is rarely faced and talked about.   The estrangers tell lies and twisted negatively distorted half-truths in order to justify their actions. 

These lies ruin reputations, careers, and countless other relationships as they get whispered and spread behind our backs.  Evil gossip packs its own terrorist attack on our self-esteem. 

Details are not necessary to fathom the depth of the destruction caused by malicious slander to our reputations. 

Every parent that has been estranged has stories of the names they have been called, the hurtful, mean-spirited untruths that have been spread by these offspring in their attempt to justify their actions.  I am pretty sure they do this because on some level they know they are in the wrong and they don’t want to be called on the wrongfulness of their actions so they create stories which wraps them in the protective cocoon of victim hood.  

They victimize us and then claim to the world that they are the victims.  And they do this with lies and slander and with the premeditated intent to cause us harm.

And we the parent allow this.  Why?  Because we don’t want to harm our children by suing them! Instead we protect their reputation at the expense of our own!  We hide, and hang our heads in silence and shame while they walk around proud of not only their actions, but of the fact that they were able to get away with it by the simple expedient of telling some whopping lies!

And culpability also falls upon those who believe the lies!  

Those who stand by and accept the lies as truth without seeking to know the other side, are just as guilty of perpetuating the situation.  

All those who “chose to side with the estranging adult children” are in fact part of the problem!  They encourage these estrangers to continue with their hurtful evil acts because in believing the falsehoods and not questioning the stories, they make it possible for the estrangers to not face up to their own guilt. 

There are also a whole group of our peers (other parents) out there that are equally guilty by their non-action.  Every time someone says or implies by their actions, “well you must have done something wrong”  they are actually enabling the lies to continue.  In accepting the lies of the deceivers, controllers and manipulators as truth they continue to allow them to "get away" with the spreading of lies.

I have started speaking out.  I refuse to be silenced by the lies.  But sometimes I feel like a lone voice calling out in the darkness.  There is still so much hidden in the world of parents being alienated and estranged by their adult children.  So many well raised children that hide behind lies about the reality of their childhood.  And of course it is always the parents fault, right?

Never ever would an egotistical, self-centered, selfish or narcissistic adult child lie or play the victim to garner sympathy!   All those estranging adult children must be speaking the truth and all those victimized parents must have done something grievously wrong.   It is this falsehood that allows people to go on believing that it could never happen to them.

It is so much easier to blame the parents in all cases of estrangement for being at fault rather than admitting “there but for the grace of the Divine go I”.   Over and over again a newly estranged parent comes to a support group and says “I never thought this could happen to me!”

Truth be told, in the olden days of ignorance, I too would never have believed that anything like this could happen to me.   And yet it did!   And today I want to say to all parents everywhere don't believe the lies told by these estranging adult children.  And remember always at the drop of a difference of opinion, “It could happen to you!”  

And to all the estranged parents that walk the solitary grieving path with me, I say, “Hold your head high!  Spread the light of truth.  Don’t let the evil of lies and gossip win!

My self-appreciation gift today is a celebration of my good character.

  • I will contemplate and enumerate all the good and wonderful things that I did as a parent.
  • I will contemplate the fine qualities that I possess and that I bring to the world and to all those that I interact with.
  • I will write lists of these qualities so that when I have moments of doubt I can re-read them! I will write out how I see these thoughts and ideas shaping my life.

I will celebrate today with a personal spa experience, a candle lit bath in fragrant waters with soothing music.  And as I relax I will meditate on “the wonderfulness of me”

I will contemplate on those qualities I would like to project to the world more consciously (kindness, loyalty, empathy, gratitude, thoughtfulness etc).  I will connect with my spiritual self to the Divine of the universe and allow that connection to enhance in me.  I will envision those qualities extending from the Divine, through me and enveloping me in an aura of all the goodness I want to project, all those qualities I which I wish to project to the world and the people I meet.

Renate Dundys Marrello
2015 - 02 - 11 

photo credits - as marked or unknown 

My journal blog entries are copyright

I love when you share my page to spread the word.
If you want to quote me I kindly ask that you please provide a link back to my page.