|hope blooms amidst the dreams unfulfilled|
The process of grieving in an estranged relationship has so many levels and variables to come to terms with.
Your child, the one you loved and nurtured from the moment they were conceived and born, until the moment they told you they wanted nothing more to do with you has cast you out of their present and their future.
This child, now an adult, has chosen to withhold their time, their energy their affection and love and even their offspring from you. You still love them. They are still a part of your heart, after all once a parent always a parent, but you are also very much alone. You suffer rejection. You face abandonment. Your worst fear faces you, loneliness in old age.
Gone are the hopes and the ideals of what you though would be. Replaced with the irrefutable knowledge that it can never go back to what it was.
So you grieve the loss of relationship,
You grieve the loss of innocent belief in the future.
You grieve the words spoken and the words unsaid.
You grieve for the stranger who now inhabits your child’s mind and body and spirit.
You grieve the loss of your hopes and dreams.
Your child lives but so much else has died.
Some days you even fear that love itself has also died, especially on those days when your heart is numb because it can’t bear any more pain.
Inevitably in the process of grieving you grow and you change.
Change at first was forced upon you by your offspring. The lonely days filled with unanswered questions, the self-examination and guilt and self-recrimination inevitably they change you. They leave you feeling vulnerable, exposed raw and unsure. These changes force you to take action lest they destroy your spirit and will to live.
Then in the course of healing you address and face unresolved issues from your own past. You heal your own inner child that you shut the door on as you yourself became an adult. You face those unresolved fears and self-doubts that lingered in the dark recesses of your mind. You face abandonment and rejection issues, confidence issues, fear of doing wrong or not doing good enough and you even learn to face your own mortality.
And everything you learn deepens your appreciation of life and the precious nature of those days that are given to us.
Then to try to make sense of it all you learn about psychology and character traits and personality quirks that make people do things the way they do. And in the process of learning things you never thought you needed to know you start to understand things that you never expected needing to understand.
You start to see your child through the eyes of this knowledge and you start to feel sorry for them and that in some way they have become stunted in their growth toward maturity.
Somewhere within all the hurt you feel, a compassion starts to blossom. Not an excusing of inexcusable behaviour, but rather a feeling that they have somehow lost their way.
Whether or not they will ever learn or find a way back is not the point, rather the point is that you let them go, you give them their own future and their own regrets that will come as life teaches them lessons they never thought they needed to learn.
All of this happens slowly and gradually amidst tears and grief and anger and sorrow and desperation and all the other emotions that grab you on any given day as you struggle to come to terms with the loss.
In between you start to build new aspirations. You start to awaken old dreams that were put away so you could devote more of yourself to you children. You start to dream again of a different future and you find a new purpose in life.
As you fill each day with these new experiences you start to experience joy and happiness again. You start to feel content that even though you don’t have what you had hoped for, what you do have is, while not perfect, not bad either.
Then one day you awake to realized that you have put the dreams of what could have been aside. Your grief for what you don’t have diminishes. You realize that those dreams are not a part of your future and that holding on to them would be holding you back from healing and moving forward. You realize that while they were good dreams, they were only your dreams and not your reality.
And that day you realize that you have healed a lot more than you ever hoped could be possible on that long ago day when your world disintegrated around you, when you first looked despair in the face and said “I don’t think I can make it through another day”
I had such a day recently, when I woke up and felt joy at being alive, and gratitude that I can do the things that I now love to do.
Will I still regret the loss of all that could have been? Without a doubt.
Will I still sorrow for the relationship that was broken? Indubitably.
Will I still wish things could have been different? Most definitely.
Will I continue to miss my old dreams? Assuredly.
Will grief linger in the recesses of my heart? Oh yes!
Will I miss what could have been? Always.
But regret is not a place to live. In that direction lies the lingering death of waiting for the shell of a body to die while life passes you by.
Life is embracing what is and making the most of it.
Life is reaching out and touching and growing and learning.
Life is going beyond sorrow to learn to love and trust again.
Life is letting go of the past a creating a different future.
Life is connecting with joy and contentment and gratitude and a different kind of happiness.
I find that I have reached that turning point.
I choose life.
Renate Dundys Marrello
2015 – 07 - 09
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