Forget me not…

Recently I have been struggling with letting go of the past.  It seems to haunt me like a bad dream.  I repeat all of the mantras that I’ve read about living in the now, and I do stop and take time to do short meditations to try to center myself in the present.  But it just keeps creeping back in.  All of my yesterdays- and the frustrations of not being able to change them.

One dilemma that I’ve noticed with this letting-go-of-the-past thing is that as we live each moment, some of what we did or that happened in the past is bound to be apparent in what happens today.

For example, as I look around my house and see all of the things that are not done as we had planned-  the second floor bathroom that never got put in, the kitchen cabinets that desperately need replacing, the huge unfinished basement that was supposed to be a great family room but the kids are now grown- all these things are glaring reminders of that past that I am supposed to be “putting behind me” so that I can live today and be happy, you know, not live in the past.

If we had not been overwhelmed by grief and the subsequent chain of events that came in its wake, then at least some of those things would have gotten done.  So they are constant reminders of a past gone awry.

It is hard when I look at my 2 kids and think about how they have been affected by growing up in a home filled with grief and pain.  I can’t turn my mind away from the reality that it has had an impact on who they are and how they view life. Each of them was effected differently I know.

We did have good times- fun and happy things too but I must be honest and say that the struggles to grow through life in those years following my daughter’s birth and death were very, very hard and in that, asked a price of my other children that I will forever regret.

Now, I can step back and look at that rationally and say that doesn’t make sense, life happens, life is not fair, I did the best I could, blah blah blah-  I know that is all true.  I really did do the best I could.  I worked very hard to give them the best, most normal, loving life that I could.  I was always honest with them about what was going on- I never hid anything from them and our family is close.  I know that there are lots of things that influence who they are, not just this particular thing.  And I know that emotions aren’t rational. That’s part of our human struggle.

I also know that there are positive things that they have gotten from this as well.  They have learned that life is not perfect.  They have learned that there is great joy and great sorrow.  They have seen their parents struggle through difficult emotional times and stick it out and work through their problems and still want to be together, that love can abide.   They’ve seen persistence, strength, endurance, commitment, faith, loyalty and trust.

I believe they have learned good things.  Things that will serve them well as they move forward in their lives.  Of course, it’s hard to know what they really think and what they will tell their kids about their childhoods.  I know that I definitely never promised them perfection.  Thank goodness!

I know that as my days go forward, I will continue to breathe and meditate and try to focus on the moment I’m in.  I will look  for the positive results of my past and try to heed my own advice on all the rest- forgive yourself, be gentle and kind to yourself, accept that you did the best you could and that you are only human, think about all of the good things that you’ve done and don’t be so hard on yourself.  Sounds good.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. momshieb
    Apr 12, 2012 @ 06:27:50

    Cindy,
    although I don’t share your past, and have been so incredibly lucky in not having suffered such loss, I think that many people continue to hold on to the past for the “what if”s. What if we hadn’t chosen to live in a such an economically struggling community? What if I had found a way to stay home with the kids when they were small? What if we had built the big tree house that we always used to talk about with the boys?
    Maybe all of the ups and downs and good and bad parts of our pasts have shaped us and our families like clay; sculpted us, not flattened us?
    I hope that you can find peace and a way to let go of the parts that need to be left, but keep the parts that are worth holding.

    Reply

    • Cindyss
      Apr 13, 2012 @ 19:46:29

      I find that as I get older, I am continually awed and amazed by the fact that I am looking back and seeing all of these things that have made up this life of mine. I have, in my stronger moments, resolved for myself that in order to live life fully and feel love and all of the good things, I have to be open to feeling all of the bad as well. I never want to close myself off to fully participating in life. Those ups and downs do make us human – it just seems like the downs are so much harder to deal with.

      I guess I never really thought about what my life as an adult would be like when we were in high school so looking back, it’s another one of those things that makes you say hmmm….

      I really am ok. I know that all of these things are what make me who I am, and as much as I hate the cliche stuff, the character that I have and that have brought me to a place where I can understand and hopefully offer something to others.

      Reply

  2. Vince Chough
    Apr 12, 2012 @ 09:30:30

    Cindy – I am imagining a point, sometime down the road, when this blog will be closed. And maybe you will start a new one. Everything here will be kept and maintained, but it won’t be the same focus. Something will change, or maybe better to say, added to your life that will lead to reconstruction. Not take away, not forget, but rebuild (again) from what remains. Just a thought. Again, thank you for this blog. Many, many blessings, Vince

    Reply

    • Cindyss
      Apr 13, 2012 @ 19:56:20

      You know Vince, I think there was something cathartic for me in writing this post, like I finally got something out there that I needed to put in words. I really hesitated about writing this particular one as I didn’t want it to seem as though I sit around in misery all the time. I have had to resolve that if I want to be able to live fully and also move forward to help others, I have to keep my heart open to the pain as well as the joy.

      I also don’t think that people realize how much it costs a family when they lose a child- the toll it takes on the other children so that’s the other reason I decided to go ahead with it.

      Thanks as always for your comments and your thoughts. cindy

      Reply

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