I notice the more I write ― the more is released. There are parts of me I’ve tucked away long ago that bubble up and can no longer push down.
In writing, I get the chance to let it go, when I commit to what has shown up. It certainly was the case, when I wrote this story, “Love Lane”.
In a world where privacy is guarded and sharing anything personal is highly discouraged, I don’t know why I write about my life and put it out for everyone to see. Certainly, they’re stories my daughters and family have heard countless times, some not so flattering, but how I remember them nevertheless.
I think I share because it is my hope, through the reading of this story and in the writing of others, your heart will be touched and we’ll realize our connection. It’s one way where we can all be there for one another in love and support.
I thank Alex Blackwell for including this as one of the stories in his newly published book called “Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender”.
I hope you will check it out and join me and my fellow contributors in the sharing of how we learned to let go.
So, without further ado, here is:
I learned Mom had died peacefully in her sleep, caught the first flight out of Denver and my sister picked me up at the airport. It was late and we drove straight home to be with Dad. I was a mess, struggling to compose myself, still reeling from the news. Every light was on in the humble, suburban house where we grew up on Love Lane, strange to see it all aglow in contrast to others.
The shock I felt was flooded with a mixture of emotions. It was hard to sort out. I didn’t know whether to cry or shout my anger at God. It wasn’t typical grief ― I could handle that ― more was happening. My head couldn’t understand it and my heart ached.
An Image In My Heart
From the time I was a child, I had an unspoken agreement with God all would end okay for Mom and Dad. I had an image in my heart that love would prevail, anger and bitterness would be reconciled and truth would heal. I truly felt all the turmoil they endured throughout their married life would not be in vain.
Dad found her that morning lying next to him, unable to wake her. The EMT’s had come and taken her body pending official identification and the decision of what to do with her remains. In addition to the grief of losing his wife, Dad was now close to panic. He couldn’t find her wallet and ID having searched through every room to no avail.
Throughout my childhood, I only knew a little joy. My parents struggled, living from paycheck-to-paycheck, barely making ends meet, with no long-term plans. They never had a phone, insurance or bank account ― why would I think it would be different now when I lost one of them? Instead of time being kind, it got worse for them as they moved into their golden years. They were living in their bedroom with very little functional facilities in a house that had been neglected for years.
This Would Be The Day
My sister and I learned long ago nothing would change them or the way they lived no matter what we did. We loved them but couldn’t reach them. They had always lived in a world of their own, without us, oblivious to everyone, and played out the daily drama of “did he cheat or didn’t he”.
It was the same ‘tape’ over and over again in the car, the grocery store, in the morning and through the night. There was no escaping and it consumed their lives and possessed my mother.
Over the years, she took control of everything that included money and bills to keep close tabs on my Dad’s whereabouts. She always swore to the heavens that she would NEVER die first and leave him without her.
In growing up, I always thought, “this would be the day, when we’d talk ― each would truly listen to the other, resolve and forgive” ― but it didn’t happen. The next day, I’d have the same thought and I’d picture it again ― day after day. After I grew up, married and moved across the country, I’d come back to visit. In my head, the same picture would occur: we’re talking and the thought appeared fresh in my heart ― this would be the day! I never gave up hope and always believed they would end up happy because I loved them.
Wasn’t that enough?
I wanted to reclaim my Mom and Dad.
Now, along with the grief of losing my mother, I felt robbed and betrayed of an unspoken trust that wasn’t fulfilled. I was angry, hurt, lost and confused having believed in a Source I thought was bigger than life.
Then, back at the house, synchronistic events slowly began to unfold. I found my mother’s wallet in the back bedroom between the mattresses at arm’s length but not with enough cash to pay the minimum $600 fee for cremation. It was a little relief to find her wallet and ID, at least for the time being.
We moved to their bedroom where they lived. On top of the dresser were old newspapers with coupon leaflets and mixed between were three, $100-dollar bills. We always believed Mom would have stashed cash throughout the house. When we finished searching, the combined cash we found including what was in her wallet was exactly $600.
Two days later, five of us gathered at grandmom’s gravesite where we were permitted to bury Mom’s ashes ― peacefully, we said good-bye. The following day, I flew home to Denver.
On the flight back, I still couldn’t shake the feeling of broken promises, feeling robbed and betrayed. That night, I tossed and turned as I tried to sleep. Still overcome with grief from losing my mother, I had a vivid dream ― perhaps a vision, so real I can see it to this day.
I dreamt of my mother standing in front of me. She had steel cords coiled around her body from the top of her head to her toes with a loose cord coming out the side. The cord was taut with someone yanking it. Suddenly, a giant hand came out of nowhere holding shears and slowly cutting through each cord.
I awoke and remember tears flowing down my cheeks and release she was finally okay. She had been set free of whatever had tormented her all her life and I had found closure. Just because I couldn’t see the big picture didn’t mean trust had been betrayed. I found peace for my mother and my faith was restored.
As I write this 28 years later and remember, tears gently well up but this time with more tenderness. After all these years, I realize perhaps letting go doesn’t come all at once but in stages as it has in my life and I whisper … I love you Mom and Dad.
Pat from the ol’ kitchen table
(Note: Thank you John Cali for guest posting my story on his site at “John Cali and Spirit” February 7, 2014 and Diana Jackson at “Selections of Reflections” April 14, 2014.)
What a poignant story. Sometimes writing it down is the only way of truly letting go. In the past I’ve written in the form of an allegory if it was too painful to write it down as it was. It’s still therapeutic. All the best with the book. Diana
Thank you, Diana. It is hard to remember and painful to write about but in writing I’ve learn how to love deeper in ways I wouldn’t have learned by myself.
As you know I love to write stories about all the lesson I was taught along the way. That said I get that about being therapeutic. It was always a bed of roses but there were still some amazing moment. I hear the pain, hurt, healing and love in your words and for that I send you a great big hug. 🙂
Awww, Susan, I feel it. Thank you, my friend.
I know you, too, love to write stories about your life and I’ve read how much you have learned along the way. What would we do without life lessons? It certainly makes us better for having lived through them.
Pat,it is truly amazing how the human spirit can withstand challenges that bring the strongest to their knees. One can only hope that the rewards in the World of Spirit make up for the difficult times on Earth. The fact that your mother died peacefully in her sleep was a blessing in itself. Both of my parents died penniless after raising a family of nine and working hard all their lives…life seems unfair at times, yet I have faith that they have gone on to a better world. Your story reminds me of a couple of books I read by Jeannette Walls: Half Broke Horses and The Glass Castle.She is a wonderful author and a great storyteller. Congratulations on getting your story published!
Thank you, Bev. I’m touched by your warm thoughts and generous spirit. I too am amazed with how resilient the human spirit is and what it can recover from.
I’m grateful mom died peacefully and it was the same 15 years later, when my dad died peacefully. It doesn’t seem fair, when I look at from a snapshot point of view. But, as I move along through life and my perspectives expand, I now understand the love and grace.
Thank you for the recommendation of Jeannette Walls’ book, “Half Broke Horses and The Glass Castle”. I’ve never heard of it and will check it out.
They are actually two separate books by Jeannette Walls. Half Broke Horses is her grandmother’s story and The Glass House is the author’s story of growing up in a dysfunctional family in poverty and conditions that were a true test to the human spirit. Suggest you read The Glass House first to get the background on the entire family. It was on the best selling list and the author won awards for it, so it is likely at the library if you have one nearby in them thar hills!
Thank you, Bev. I saw that when I added them to my Goodreads list. They look interesting. She looks like a pretty popular author.
What a touching story. Your mother needed to be in control, and your father let her have it. That is true love. He could have searched for the wallet, but he gave that power to her. One person’s dysfunctional or codependent is another person’s completed circle. I’m so happy you found peace, and your story is very uplifting. I like the way your dream mind found peace. You are a gifted writer.
Hi Brenda – thank you for stopping by and leaving your kind words and thoughts. That indeed was true that my mother needed to be in control and, with regard to her wallet, we didn’t find it until after her death. It’s funny how things work out — goes to show how little in control we really are. I’m grateful for the grace of closure and peace I received. It made me love her even more beyond the grave.
Pat, what a wonderful recollection of your mother! I lost mine 2 years ago to Parkinson’s disease and was at her side when she breathed her last breath. It seemed like a normal process but I remember when her face relaxed afterward, she looked like someone else and not mom, especially around her mouth. Strange, I know. I am so glad I was with her. Thank you for a tender recollection and the hope of broken cords that previously held us back.
Thank you, Susan. I’m glad you had the opportunity to be with your mother in her tender last moments. It must have meant a lot.
For me, God knows how I am with death (see my post Boo! What Scares You?). I certainly came away believing and feeling it was divinely orchestrated.
What a post so gripping and how it tore at my heart, thank you I like this post a lot
Thank you, Joanne. You don’t know how much that means to me that it touched your heart. I was hoping it would make a connection to others when they read it. Hugs!
First, Congratulations on the publication of your story. Second, what a beautiful and sad story you decided to share with the world. It’s very hard when we want things right and peaceful. When we want to see our loved ones happy, yet the happiness never comes. What we must always remember is that we can’t reach out and help someone when they refuse the hand and help.
Your mother was freed when she passed away because she didn’t have the sadness that did embody her life. I think the same thing about my mother. She had so many disappointments and sadness in her life. I’m still coping with her death, but I keep believing that her freedom had come. She was released of the sadness, and God apparently needed her now.
Thank you so much for sharing this story… and now I’m crying.
Thank you, Denise, and you’re welcome. I’m touched that you could relate to my story and share in the passing of your own mother. It is hard when we want much more for our loved ones and see them struggle through their own baggage. There is grace in the struggle, though, I learned, and we grow from it. I believe your mother was also set free — that’s the agape love so needed to be translated into this world.
What a beautiful, powerful story Pat. I felt a tear rise up as I read this, everything, from your shock at your mom’s sudden death, to finding just the right amount of money for the cremation, to your dream of your mom being set free as the cords which had bound her in this life were cut loose in the life beyond, thereby setting you free too, even though you never were able to have ‘the day’ here and now that you so hoped for.
Your peace and faith were restored through all this. Such a moving testimony to the power of divine restoration, even though it so often isn’t in the way we could have imagined.
Thank you for sharing your very personal story with us Pat, I have been very blessed by it. Big hug coming your way 🙂
Awww, Sherri, thank you. It means a lot to me that it touched your heart. I’m blessed and thankful for the outcome. It helped me in a powerful way to realize true forgiveness and grace. Not so many people have that opportunity in the challenges and struggles they face everyday. Hugs back at you, girlfriend — thank you! 🙂
Blogging, writing away my troubles,saved my life…
I know it has done the same to many more..
I look at what I write is like my own personal diary… lol
But one I share with thousands of people,, I guess in the hope others know they can write their problems to a caring place, that word press iss..
Good blog, hope you are doing ok
Thank you. I agree, Shaun, and know you understand, first-hand, how therapeutic it is to write personally on our struggles and challenges. We all have them. Sometimes, the writing is the only voice we have.
I’m glad you enjoyed the read and can relate. Like you, I hope the stories will touch someone and help them with what is going on in their life. 🙂
Yeah I hope so also…
We write to help and inspire and you can write Mrs…
Thank you, Shaun. We really try, don’t we, to help and inspire? And, you made my day with your complement on my writing (yeah, I saw it)! 🙂 You’re the best and I appreciate your support Shaun.
Always Pat, it takes second to be nice.. x
So, true Shaun. 🙂
Love comes in many forms. I have a sister that is married to an alcoholic for almost thirty years. I used to get so angry at her for not leaving. I have learned over the years it is her choice, and I have no right to be angry. I learned to love her unconditionally and we do not discuss the matter any more.
I think that’s the hardest part, Patricia, is seeing how much better their life could be and not being able to do anything about it. But, could we, really? I guess that’s what I’ve learned over the years is that what may appear to be one thing to my eyes is completely different to those I’m observing. Like you, in the letting go, I’ve learned to just send them my love instead of trying to fix them or their lives. 🙂