Why don’t you just call them, send them a letter, email or text?
If only that simple.
Welcome to more misconceptions about estrangement.
If it seems as if I repeat certain thoughts, I am. This is complex stuff and not easily explained nor neatly organized. I write to express – a keen desire to possibly help another; a cathartic release, a way towards acceptance, an outlet of grief.
In 2011, I began writing on the down low on another blog anonymously, where upon there came a time of redemption and a beginning of another transition in my grief process. The shame of estrangement, too great at the time, I was able to cover a mass of feelings incognito. It’s taken me years to open up and talk about the discomfort of estrangement – not exactly a topic of dinner conversation with friends. People shirk and shake their heads, don’t know what to say, feel sorry for you, pity, shameful, as if us who are estranged are solely and surely at fault. Judgement is at the core. I get this. Profoundly. Once you’re on the defense of consequences made, you become more empathetic to those who judge. Admittedly, the tendency to judge others still exists, yet, a heftier respect for the process of critical thinking is far stronger than ever.
As dear Dr. Joshua Coleman laments, “there is always a kernel of truth” in why one chooses to estrange. AND…there is always accountability, ownership and responsibility for one’s actions. Long gone are reflections of “someone else’s fault” – to a point. My children are right on about me making horrendous decisions. Those were mine and no one else’s. Their rage, anger, disbelief of a mom they once loved and adored, shattered. The remorse can not be put into neat and tidy words, though vulnerability opens doors that shred shame. It’s not a question of right or wrong. Their realities, their convictions tightly grip any notion for change.
Don’t you worry your kids will discover your blog? What would they think? Won’t your blog further their alienation?
Gotta love the “what if’s.” They have chosen to distance themselves. That is their choice, their life. They deserve to be themselves, to express as they wish and believe.
I opt for vulnerability.
My writing consists of issues such as divorce, death of a parents, estrangement from your adult kid and family…you know, the kind of light subject matter one loves to read about. Only now, I’m less fearful of being found out, fearful my children might discover it’s me, their mom. What is this fear all about?
A year evolves into two, three and beyond. Now coming in to my fifth season, the reasons for estrangement mean less than they once did. The “why’s” become less significant, replaced with a sadness, dismay and disbelief my life is without my adult children.
For the first few years of the estrangement, I reached out numerous times. At first, the emails, an array of apologies, sorrowful remorse in my attempts to connect. In the beginning, reaching out without a clue of what to say or how to approach, mistakes made upon mistakes. My tone, one of love and compassion, came out as weak, as one who hadn’t grown much, desperate for their acceptance and forgiveness. While the reasons themselves are not wrong, the approach was urgent and desperate for validation. Birthdays and holidays were acknowledged. I sent gifts to my younger girl when away at college, care packages of love, nothing else. All gifts were sent with love, hoping the love would be strong enough to warrant healing for us all.
Looking back, I cringe at my lack of insight, yet now understanding I didn’t understand. I had little idea how to handle myself, let alone my adult children. I’m sure I came across as insincere, one who hadn’t suffered the consequences of my actions to a point of renewing any sort of trust. Once a mother breaks the bond of trust with her kid, well, nothing can ever be the same again.
Estrangement teaches me unconditional love is not enough for reconciliation. If I just love them more, tell them how much, without expectations, that I’ll always be here when needed, surely that will make a difference. How wrong I have been. Reconciliation can only occur when both parties desire to reconcile.
When a parent is told to let go, to please not contact anymore, to stay away, told they are sick, unwanted, there comes a time, some sort of acceptance must prevail or one shall lose their mind. One must eventually choose how they wish to live. In order to get to that place, one has to face themselves first, then go through a lotta shit. It’s the recipe for growth, kids. No short cuts.
Insight comes. It will continue in bigger waves. The yearning to learn, to make my life positive despite divorce, despite loss of the life I once had for many years, forced me to reckon with myself.
With acceptance, comes intrinsic peace. The longing is always there. My life has moved forward in astounding ways. I’m in a solid and loving relationship, the blending of families evolves. More of that story to come. Today, a full and healthier life, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. And in my new-found joy, a huge piece is still missing.
What feels right these days is vulnerability. Confronting pain, sitting with it, is vital in the process to becoming the person I should have always been. I am grateful.
We’ll find each other soon. ❤