Just Turn The Page

Just Turn The Page: February 2016

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Child Within


Losing someone you love is devastating. No one can escape death. However, watching someone die adds another dimension to grief. More so, when the relationship you shared is filled with regret.
I did not watch my mother die, like her husband, Bill, my two siblings, and aunt. I lived three-thousand miles away, but I felt her leave for the second time in my life, and that pain was almost unbearable.

The woman they knew was not the woman I knew. I spent the majority of my life estranged from my mother. In fact, most of my teen years and entire adulthood I spent alienated from my family. As in all relationships, this was not all one-sided. It had as much to do with me, as it did them. Nonetheless, my heart was filled with regret.

The turning point in our relationship came in 2008 when my mother came to my oldest daughter’s high school graduation. Despite the hectic schedule, we were able to share a few treasured moments together: moments of tears, apologies, holding hands, and most of all, forgiveness. Moments forever etched in my memory.  

Yet, I was still unsure. I didn’t know if I could open my heart to a woman I barely knew or understood. It would be cruel to imply that my mother intentionally hurt or rejected me. She did not. She was fighting battles I could not understand as a child. Still, dysfunctional families leave a mess in their wake. No one comes out of chaos unscathed. At the time, the woman in me knew and understood this truth. But the child in me did not.

Colors of Fate Colors of Fate Series

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Breaking the Silence


October 12, 2014 started out like a typical Sunday for my family, church and an afternoon drive to Cary for my son’s basketball training. I decided to take my daughter along for the ride to spend a little girl time while we waited.
The drive was peaceful, quiet, maybe a little too quiet with two teenagers in the car. I guess some days are like that, each of us lost in our own thoughts. Despite the serenity surrounding me, inside I was anxious. I was waiting, waiting to face what I feared most in my life.
We dropped Charlie off. Then toured the local shops. Over subs, we chit-chatted about college, her boyfriend, and life. Basically, your typical teenage girl stuff. When we finished, we headed out to the car to pick up my son. Then it happened.
My hands involuntarily reached for my phone as the blood rushed to my cheeks. Every sound muffled by the sound of my pounding heart. Slowly and somewhat forcibly I read the text from my Aunt. I scrolled through the message, “It’s time. You need to call now!”
Summer reached for my hands, as my body switched to auto-pilot. Avoiding eye contact with her, I dialed the number. After a few rings, Bill answered. To this day, I do not remember speaking with him, I only remember the sound of her labored breathing. Eternity passed between us. Everything became so surreal, like a movie in slow motion. Then I heard a faint voice. At first, I thought she was talking but it was me speaking to her or at least I thought it was me. The words sounded like they came from me, but I felt no ownership to them. They were saying goodbye, while inside I was screaming, trying desperately to hold on.
Sometimes, the greatest treasures are found in the moments of our deepest pain. As we drove home, my two teenagers sang, at the top of their lungs, with me “She Will Go Down in a Blaze of Glory” by Jon Bon Jovi, over and over again. Seriously. No lie. It was the sweetest moment of my mother slipping away. Yet, the hour still had not come by the time we got home.
I went straight to my bathroom and emerged myself into the piping hot water. The humming of the jets drowned out the roar of my aching heart. Suddenly, silence filled the space of my existence. She was gone. In her wake, silence.

It has been a over a year since my mother’s passing.
Although life went on, for me it was enveloped in profound silence.

Silence W.H. deVries

Grief numbed my soul. I went through the motions of doing, but not really living. I could not write. I tried. I could not sing. I tried. I could not dance. I tried. I tried to reach for life, but silence held me. I could not let go.

Give sorrow words: The grief that does not speak. Whisper the o’re-fraught heart, and bids it break
. Shakespeare’s Macbeth

But then slowly, gradually the silence that cocooned me released its hold. Sorrow still grips my heart, for many reasons, but like a butterfly I will break free.   





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