How do you reconcile? How do you account for the heartache and the irrational and for the so unexpected that it feels painfully unimaginable? This can't be my life. I can't possibly survive this.
When you're in the middle, there's no justice for whatever pain you have experienced in your life. There is no condolence trophy that can take it away. (If you let it and only when you're ready- that comes later) Nothing can wipe the memory of having gone through it. That's the thing about our memories. They can stick like crazy glue and make it harder for us to fathom a different reality. Until you are ready to realize that the only one who can create a different future is you, the pain will linger in your head, your thoughts, your conversations, and how you look at the world. You become the pain and give the pain life until you are ready to say there's no room for it any longer. Until the day you decide that it has served it's purpose for long enough. Until you are fully cracked open.
Before that time, when you're fresh into it or still in the middle (realize that there is no reference point to know until you're through it, which makes being 'in it' all the more unknown; the blind-folded roller coasters are unpredictable and the perception of depth a constant surprise); realizing somewhere in between your past life and the one that's waiting for you at the end of this painful journey, that the pain and challenge is completely yours, and though pointing fingers to the outside may alleviate some 'injustice', it's only wiping the surface of a deep stain that needs your attention. The 'surface' just gets dusty again; quickly, by the way. It's all at the root. The process is about digging into it at the foundation of your spirit.
My nervous and broken heart tries to make it all better and smile and prepare his things by the door like its normal. Like its ok for a mother to prepare her child to not see each other for two days- again. As if it were innately acceptable and normal. The pain stings when he looks at you with confused eyes; looking for an answer of why you're giving him up again. Why your time together had to stop. Looking for a reason that you cannot answer for yourself.
Let me cut the pretense here and now. It's not natural. It f'ing hurts every single time. It feels like I'm missing a body part when I'm not with him. I give him my heart when he goes so he can cuddle with it when he's not with me, and so I can cuddle with him. I become a ghost of myself until he returns. I operate and function and get stuff done - I even smile and persevere through a layer of positivity, just to get me through the day. I'm not a Saint. It's my way of surviving because if I let the sadness shine through, I would drown in it. That's how deep it has felt.
The transitions between my house and his father's felt as if I were breaking a rule. A sacred one. For a long time, I used to feel as though I've abandoned him every time. What if he felt like I consciously made a choice to not WANT to be with him? Oh, the horror! How can I make a tiny guy understand this life he's living? Then gradually, it started to feel like I had a gaping hole inside; hollow. And when I would see him after 48 hrs, it's like he hasn't seen me in weeks. I can't decide if its the best or the most hurtful truth to see my child miss me so much and bolt into my arms. I didn't want him to feel the roller coaster I was living and my worst fear is that he was; that I was hurting a Godly bond.
I worked really hard to keep it all positive. To open lines of communication between us so that he could tell me anything he wanted. To allow him to have any feelings and teach him about them. All topics of conversation between any parent and a young child, except there was an added layer of my healing and my efforts to protect his heart. 'Don't project', I would tell myself. 'Have your sad moment after he's in bed'. I had all of these rules of how to balance out my healing process with being a positive light in his life. Oh, how we restrict ourselves by our own rules; and the best I could with what I was given to be conscious of his experience.
You would think that after two years I would have healed. That I would have gotten used to it - At least have been numb to it. I'm not. I still feel everything. He's almost 4 now. We've been dancing like this since he was 18 months old.
'He won't remember', they say. 'He's too little'. 'Kids are resilient', they say. This mother's heart hated those statements for a long time (now they just annoy me - progress!) because it felt like he had to reap the consequences of my actions. It meant he had to bounce back from something difficult which he did not inflict upon himself. It was just in his path. Here I am, as his protector and guide, and the one that put him in this situation (not alone, of course, but still).
He's too little to have to be resiliant. He remembers everything. And his spirit and heart are sacred to me. There's a memory we all store even if we don't let it out. It matters because it happened. It hurts because it matters. We may not remember the details of the circumstance, but I believe we store how it made us feel.
If it gets better or easier, will it mean I have given up? Does it mean the connection and relationship between us is diluted and we just couldn't keep feeling the hurtful truth. Is letting go a measure of purely surviving the pain and giving up?
After two and a half years of this journey of bawling my eyes out, praying, reading, exercising like an Olympian, anger, frustration, fear, questions, fear, meditation, panic, yoga, fear...I surrendered. I'm a fighter. Sometimes in the best sense of the word because I have always sought for meaning. A fighter to a point where I'm so focused on something I am blind to what the world is telling me. After this internal battle, I put my weapon down. I listened to the Universe and the good around me because I needed them.
'I can't do this alone'. That was my mantra for a long time. When I was on my knees in despair. 'I can't do this alone'. The answer was right there in that same breath. I was never alone. I didn't get through it alone, either. I was guided all along and the minute I listened to that guidance, I was secure enough to let go. Whether out of plain exhaustion or spiritual revelation or both, I unclenched my tight fist, one knuckle at a time. The world didn't fall apart. In fact, nothing changed except for my outlook.
Yes! Challenges, pain, surprises in life, crappy situations - it's all difficult. It sucks during. I fought like hell to make that go away. The only way I was finally able to move on, was to move on.
There is no right or wrong. It just is. It's a path. It's a left turn or a right or a series of them. The most evident change wasn't a physical one; it was a feeling. I allowed myself to feel lighter. I allowed myself to realize that this isn't going to change and when I stopped protesting, life became easier.
Don't get me wrong. I still spend nights bawling at the reality. I still miss my child terribly when he's not with me. I still curse at the heavens saying no mother should ever go through this and why have you taken my child from me. I remind the Universe that my dream has always been to be a mother and of multiple children, so not only am I limited physically with my only, who knows if I will ever have another shot at it. And then, I let it go. I wonder how I can be the best mother from here? It feels even more imperative at this point of my life to create meaning. I absolutely have to contribute to this planet and to our human hearts so that this experience holds worth. That's my justice! That's my freedom! That's the condolence prize, if there is one. That's my responsibility in how I can create my life moving forward and not be a prisoner of the past. I am of better use this way for reasons that will continue to reveal themselves.
As you may have felt in the midst of your painful journey, not knowing what was next; it only continues that way. None of us know what's next. Detachment to expectations and being open to any possibility, cultivates a sense of freedom to be fully yourself and you feel strong enough to live and thrive, lesson after lesson.
It's the best way I know how to be a mother. And by the way, being a mother 100% of the time while physically being present a fraction of that, you become acutely aware of your responsibility. Not that you aren't under any other scenario. For me, it's raised the bar to be engaged every minute I spend with him so he remembers THAT feeling! I want him to learn to cultivate his own feelings regardless of the world around him. A letting go that this is his soul and as a mother to only be a guide by his side of his experience on this planet. To teach through example and speak to him of truths and pains and the beauty that results.
The attachments that led me to participate in the relationship that created this being and my role as a Mother, have resulted in my letting those go and facing that I am a Mother of a multifaceted spirit; my own.