A friend’s mother has passed away. I had the fortune to meet her and have lunch with her a couple of years ago. She was adorable. And I know that her daughter, my friend, loved her very much. Her mother was, for the most part, a stable point for her through some rough times. The funeral is Friday.
I have felt this a few times today, and have shed some tears. I am very lucky; my parents are still alive. I love them dearly and am not looking forward to their inevitable passing.
I think we tend to take our parents for granted. My relationship with my parents has significantly improved throughout the last ten or so years. Prior to that, there had been long periods of estrangement. Justifiably, for where we all were in our journey.
I am grateful though, that we have worked hard to develop healthy and happy relationships with one another.
It hasn’t been easy. My childhood was traumatic. I expected better from my parents. As an adult, I came to realise (it was a process) that Dr PHIL is right: when we know better, we do better.
My parents were struggling, individually, with the impact of their own choices when I was younger. They didn’t know how to do that and protect/nurture their children. I know, without any hesitation, that if they could have done it all differently, they would have. And, as a result, I have been able to forgive them, and we have all moved forward.
Thank goodness I had the time with them to be able to do that. I am also grateful that they know me, and I know them, as equals. My mother is one of my very best friends, and I love and appreciate my dad, especially the humility that aging has gifted him with. Above all else, all of the mistakes, and ill informed choices, I know that they love me.
Even now, when I suffer and they are powerless to fix it, I can feel their frustration at not being able to protect me.
Does it make up for my childhood?
But it doesn’t need to. I gained as much as I lost. I developed resilience, inner strength, a love of learning, compassion, empathy, idealism, principles, and a bloody strong work ethic. I am sure there is more. The things that I lost, like self-esteem and trust, well, I am a work in progress and they are slowly evolving.
I am going to let my parents know that I love them, whilst I still can. It is easy to hold on to anger, resentment, pain, but it solves nothing. It eats away like cancer. It destroys the heart and soul. Finding the way to forgive is the key. For me, forgiveness saved me. Friendship with my parents was an additional blessing; forgiveness ensured I had no regrets, and that’s all I wanted.
To save me, my narrative needed to become about me, my needs. Familiar theme here. Cycles ending so that my next phase of growth can commence.