I received the most wonderful email this morning from my aunt in response to my post Coming out of the Shadows Part 2. We talked at great length after I read this email and she gave me her permission to share that conversation here. Below is her post:
I just read your latest blog. I felt really sad. Just reading this and not knowing who you were and what your family life was like really raises lots of questions about your Mother. However, I know you and I know what growing up in your house was like, somewhat. I wonder have you looked at these circumstances in the context of all the tension, stress and other stuff that perhaps caused such stringent parameters? Feeling suppressed is by no means a pleasant or empowering atmosphere for a child of any age to grow up in.
But now, from the perspective of a very learned and mature adult how do you evaluate the circumstances beyond the “transitioning”. How do you consider the strength and positive influences of a determined mother to raise her children with a desire to become educated and productive citizens. We all have our quirky and perhaps, minimizing experiences within our families, but, we make a choice to go beyond the borders and create a life, a life that we choose good, bad or indifferent. You have done just that. Successful at marriage, mothering, building a home, and both educationally and professionally. That 12 year old is not relevant,
think about it. The only relevancy is that you learned survival tactics and that brought you through to become who you are today. A really nice person. I love you very much.”
Response to My Aunt
I am so blessed to have you in my life. I am happy that my post made you sad because that tells me that I am getting at truth as I remember my past. I am being authentic, warts and all.
First, my mom was an incredible women and a treasured role model. Her strength, courage and determination laid the inner ground work for me to stand strong and persevere through so many challenging times. Our lives were not easy when I was a child and she did the very best that she could. I have no doubt of that. I spent a great deal of time working through things with her before she died. I love my mom and I am not angry with her about anything. I did not mean to portray her in a light that suggested I was angry with her or that she was anything less than a wonderful person. I resolved my issues with my mom intellectually and we were at peace with each other when she died. What I did not do was to let that work with her help me to understand myself.
Until I found myself to paralyzed to move forward with the things that I needed to do to build my business, I did not realize how much I had lived and was still living outside of myself. All that I had done with and for my mom was to help her: to help her find peace and to be sure that we did not part with unsaid words. Though I have long understood how difficult those years were, I have finally come to realize that simple understanding would not help me grasp how those years had shaped me: my personality, my sense of self or place and my sense of worth. They were all colored by those experiences. My transitional journey is to look those feelings, fears and memories in the face and finally let them go and put them to rest.
After my dad died, my mom became a warmer more open accessible person. She became the mother to the world that I wish I had known as a child. She became herself – the self her siblings grew up with. I miss my mom terribly and I know that she understands the journey I must now take. It is not unlike the journey she and I took on her behalf those last few years of her life. My prayer is that by the end of the journey, my soul my spirit and not just my intellect can embrace the perspective of a very learned and mature adult.
You are right. That 12 year old is no longer relevant in my life, but I must met her face to face, love her, grow her up and set her free, not from the me that has lived outside of myself but from the me that finally lives as a whole being. I will get there. This blog is the chronicling of that journey, one step, one layer of the mask, one tear, one heartache, one frozen moment at a time.
Thank you my dear Aunt and friend. By the end of this experience, I will have heartfelt answers to your questions not just the head-thought answers I have relied on to protect me.
Yes, Job 11:12 says “An empty man can gain understanding.” I have been empty too long and did not know why. As Job 11: 13-19 promises since I am “setting my heart right” and “spreading out my hands toward him,” I know that this journey will grow me to be “firm and free from fear.”
I will be “confident, because there is hope.”
I will “look around” and “ lie down secure.”
I will “rest and no one will make me afraid”.
I love you and I am glad you are part of my journey and that your wisdom is there to draw upon.