Another warm welcome to Pat. I am sure this story will reach you at many levels and tug at your heart. Sometimes it’s so hard to let go and at times the opportunity to say goodbye is torn from us. Pat writes on how she came to terms with deep rooted emotional bonds:
“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 the following 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 Diana Jackson at “Selections of Reflections”, for the opportunity to be a guest on her site with this story and Alex Blackwell for including this as one of the stories in his published book called “Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender”.
I hope you will check them 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.
Many of us struggle to find ways to make sense of it all in our families and relationships. We make a lot of mistakes, say and do things we regret. But, when we’re shown or given an opportunity to let go, love and forgive, take the chance and try again to allow love to show you how.”
Pat from the ol’ kitchen table
Pat Ruppel is a blogger, writer and self-published author since 2007. She lives in the Colorado Rockies with her husband and pet dog, Abby.
Stop by and check out her website called “Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom,
More about Pat in my next post.