I love this photo of us. It takes me back to a time when life was easy and carefree and I felt like the luckiest little girl in the world. I cherish this picture because it serves as reminder of all the great memories I have of you. I think of you often and sometimes with regret. When I got the call that you passed away, it was in that moment that I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I saw you face to face, nor the last words that I spoke to you. What I do remember is that there was tension in our last phone conversation and many unanswered questions. That was about 22 years ago.
I must admit that I did not spend a large part of my life trying to understand your choices. I was too young at the time to understand the complexities of life and relationships between a man and a woman but as a young child when I saw my mother often frustrated and angry as a result of your choices, I took her side. My heart ached trying to figure out how you could be so easily led astray and I took your actions all too personally. Weren’t we enough of a reason to leave the alcohol, streets and women alone? How could anything be more important than us? As a result, I armored myself with an “If you don’t care enough then I don’t care enough either” attitude. Little did I know the undertone of this experience would live, grow and fester inside me. It has shown up in various areas of my life. Whenever I’ve felt betrayed or disrespected by a friend and it most certainly has shown up in my relationships with men. While I was busy showing many “I didn’t care about them either” I also was neglecting “not caring” about myself. And I was too blinded by ego to see it. I’ve faced some hard truths about myself in my desire to achieve success in the one area of my life that proves to difficult. Relationships. I have wasted much time trying to prove my worthiness to men. I have accepted scraps of attention and time from men, I’ve stuck by their sides forgivingly, when I should have walked away. All the while convincing myself that if I could make “this one” work despite the obvious signs, my worth be recognized. Because I could not see my worth, I was looking for it in my various career choices, in my friendships and in my relationships. In my mind I knew better, but at my core I needed to be healed.
My path to healing has been ripe with hard lessons, self-reflection, awareness, gratitude, and love. It wasn’t until I claimed my baggage which I carried with me everywhere, that I was able to release it. I have since learned to forgive myself and I’ve come to forgive you. I’ll never know the weight of your burdens and fears but as an adult I now understand that you did the best you knew how to do. Life does not come with a manual and our experiences are here to show us ourselves, good and bad so that we can live fully and in truth. It is not for me or anyone to judge you or your actions. My unconscious behavior is no different from yours or anyone else’s for that matter. The common thread of fear of inadequacy runs through all of us. I now understand it had nothing to do with me. At 44 I know without question my value and my worth and as a result I am responsible and accountable for the energy I bring to life experiences. Although I am still single, it is because I know what I will and will not allow in my life. I am guided by my intuition. I forgive without giving up my truth. There is nothing to prove. Life happens for us to nurture and promote our spiritual development.
And so, on what would have been your 66th birthday, it is my hope that these words touch your spirit. Two years ago today mom and I traveled to St. Croix to release Grandma Sheila’s ashes into the ocean and once released the clouds dissipated and the light from the sun confirmed that her spirit was free. We were able to see your sister Karen and celebrate both your life and my grandmother’s life. For me this day is about letting go of the things that are holding me back from living my best life. I pray that wherever you are in the world, that your life is abundant. I pray that you have found your way. I pray that you are sharing your light. Know that I love you and know that I always knew your love for me and despite the past, I am grateful to have known you on this journey called life.