Birthday Love, Exhaustion and Hope

The cornucopia of life; all its glories, disappointments, joys and upheavals. Bring it.

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She continues touching my life. Legacy forever, baby. (2010)

How blessed we were to have her for seventy-seven years. Each birthday, celebration matters, whether she be here or not, for those we love, those who touched our lives, lives on infinitely. 

Life holds such wonder, such pain. Mom’s birthday sparks both equally. The wonder of life, how we learn to meander and glide, while traipsing the precious and tender landscape. 

I am getting married next month – a decision not made impulsively, kids, that I assure you. Divorced five years this December, thoughts of remarriage used to be right up there with root canals and scuba diving on what I’d-never-like-to-do-again-while-living-on-this-planet list. 

Today I am happy. I am content and at peace with the person I am. Self-reflection, as brutal as it is, I highly recommend the pain. The outcome will surprise. 

Yet, within my happiness and wonder, my upcoming nuptials are somewhat marred by a little issue called estrangement. 

Estrangement is exhausting. To purposely keep silent, I choose not to anymore. It’s real and a part of my life. I do not dwell or languish in misery. I wish to educate and disseminate the shame. I’ve learned to cope with our estrangement on a daily basis. Certainly, triggers still rise and when they do, some catch my breath more than others. For a long time, my fear derided my yearning to move forward – that perhaps if I remarried, I would certainly lose my girls forever. Perhaps I already have. Silence is racked with the unknown. 

Thus, after many a prayer, in addition to a bevy of thoughts and questions, I came to the conclusion to marry without directly telling my children. 

Here’s lies the dilemma: if I don’t tell them, I’m an uncaring and selfish mother. If I say something, I’m an uncaring and selfish mother. Each time I’ve reached out, my attempts are met with anger and fear, anxiety and disdain, not to mention how their reactions affect my own psyche. So, why put them and myself through more needless trauma, for after five years of estrangement, how to reconnect when we’ve remained strangers all these years?  

They do not know my current life, how I got here, nor do I know theirs. No longer part of either one’s journey, we are entrenched in a specific moment of time; only what we know of our pasts as mother and daughters or the occasional hearsay from a third-party. No direct contact makes for little understanding of the other. Other people’s responses are their’s alone, including my children.  I re-learn to let go of what they think of me, how I am judged or perceived – the most exhausting component. 

All of which brings me to this: strangers or not, I am their mother, they are my daughters. While doors remain open, grieving ones who are still alive, love is that more poignant. The love is alive and well. Forever. I wish them happiness in abundance. Hope lives on as does life. 

Happy Birthday, my wondrous mama. Thank you for giving me life, for breathing life into me. I love the way you loved me. 

 

 

 

 

Blessings of the Miserable 

Hey kids, welcome to this moment. 

Estrangement is alive and well in our world. It pretty much is here to stay. 

People who cut others off, I feel you. 

People who are the recipients of those cut off, I feel you too. 

There’s so much to take care of in a lifetime. Relationships are hard. They take work, nurturing, patience, listening, talking. Meaningful relationships are on a continuum. There are no finish lines. Even upon death, the depths of the continuum carry those who are still breathing. 

Estrangement has touched my life across the board. Families, once in tact, now fragments of each other, unable or unwilling to work together, result in deep pain for all involved. This is why my compelling nature must write. If not a voice, who then, is left to understand? 

But here’s the dealio…

Others are struggling far more than you or I. They are battling cancer, sick babies, poverty, death of a parent, death of a child, holding onto jobs, lack of healthcare, retaining sanity. The struggle is real. Perspective matters. 

Woody Allen says to Annie Hall:

“I feel that life is divided into the horrible and the miserable. That’s the two categories. The horrible are like, I don’t know, terminal cases, you know, and blind people, crippled. I don’t know how they get through life. It’s amazing to me. And the miserable is everyone else. So you should be thankful that you’re miserable, because that’s very lucky, to be miserable.”

Thank God my children are alive and thriving by taking care of themselves. Thank God they are still here and I am still here. And thank God for faith in being one of the miserable ones. We are blessed. 😘

We’ll find each other soon. 💜

Mother’s Day Just Got Real

Not all mom’s are equal, nor are children. I wasn’t going to write on Mother’s Day this year, though alas, here I be. 

Motherhood transcends Sunday brunch, breakfast in bed, a fresh flower, sleeping in. One of the most realistic representations of Mother’s Day comes from one of my fav shows, “The Middle”, wherein mom Frankie wishes to be left alone on Mother’s Day, only to have missed out on a grand time at the local amusement park the rest of the family partook upon granting mom her time alone for the day. Comedy ensues when dad and the kids try to replicate the same experience when they take mom back to the park the following weekend. Yeah, that goes well. 🙂 

 

When my mom was alive, so often we laughed at the absurdity of Mother’s Day, as if to celebrate this day was more meaningful than all the other days we loved each other. With my own children, the homemade cards, purchased cards, sweet writings granted, appreciated, though more days than not, I felt their love and appreciation. 

It’s ok if Mother’s Day isn’t the best day. If you’re hurting, that’s ok, too. Be kind to yourself. Mom’s are people, as are their kids. They are bonded, though not conjoined. They see themselves in each other; positive and negative. Go with it. Learn yourself by learning your mom. It’s going to be ok. Trust me on this. My fifth season of estrangement from my girls, I’m ok. They continue to separate themselves from me. The loss is felt. Oh, my, is it felt. I’m carrying on, loving them as always, proud of motherhood, grateful for the years we were together. My door, always wide open for my girls, I have four soon-to-be stepdaughters, as I’m learning motherhood transcends my own children.

Caring thoughts for those who aren’t best friends with their moms, lost a mom, wish they were moms, or were abused by a mom. You are loved….so, so, loved. 

And huzzah for those who are best friends with their mom. You are blessed! May you have the ultimate Sunday brunch. 

Hug your mom, though understand it’s ok if you don’t want to. 

Bouquets of love to beautiful, yous. 

We’ll find each other soon. ❤

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When Can I Let Them Go?

I had been away somewhere, not too far from home. The time way is somewhat fuzzy, though long enough that my girls took notice when I returned. 

Walking up to the big house we lived in for twelve years, through the large living room window, I could see my youngest, about five years old. Holding her sweet stuffed animal, Sammy the bear, dancing in front of the television, mimicking the onscreen characters. 

Once inside, I quietly watched her joyously dancing. Before saying hello, I decided to look for her older sister first. In a whisper, I walked down the hallway, “Hello…..anybody home?” Sitting on the floor, meticulously working with construction paper and scissors, my nine-year-old looked up. Without missing a beat of her activity, “Hi Mom!”  Smiling, I sat down on the floor, when my five-year-old pranced in, plopping herself in my lap. Hair freshly washed, the mixture of shampoo and her natural self, cuddling her, I buried my nose and took it all in.

The three of us, mom and two daughters, sharing a sweet moment in a bedroom.  

Waking up, sweet comfort of a dream. 

I suppose dreams are not simply arbitrary. There is meaning. 

For sometime, debating whether or not to reach out, to let my girls know of my impending marriage; wavering, what’s best for them, for me. Five years estranged, the girls, now twenty-seven and twenty-two, the dream permeating my heart, I’m still unsure what to do. 

Though cut off, those years and moments of comfort, many more than not, I am reminded the love and joy of motherhood. Estrangement won’t ever break the joy once lived. The girls will be angry and hurt, their mother is getting remarried. They may decide to sever our ties even further or perhaps, permanently. 

The risk of rejection always lingers.

The past five years, each time reaching out, each time, they lash out in anger or cope by complete silence. Do I wish to continue receiving? Shall I marry and never say anything? Are they better off finding out from others, their mom remarried without telling them first? Does any of this matter?c729c9369b7a97208cd0de0b291654c5

I don’t know what I feel. I only want to love them, live a life with people I love, people who love me, a life of peace. 

The girls I love so dearly, their disdain sticks and I can’t release it long enough to reach out anymore. 

Our lives are our own. We’ll find each other soon. ❤ 

Opting for Vulnerability

Why don’t you just call them, send them a letter, email or text?

If only that simple.

Welcome to more misconceptions about estrangement.

Why explain?

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. 

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More later…

We’ll find each other soon. ❤

Adjusting to the Adjustments 

Like a limb that’s missing, one learns to adjust. Phantom pain still lingers. Life moves forward. 

Blessed with good health, beautiful people in my world, their absence, once the center of everything, the adjustment grows, evolves, shifts. They are not my universe. They are my children. 

Words escape lately, as feelings are somewhat numb, without the disruptive urgency I had years ago.  Lives – theirs and mine, far removed from each other, loves never wanes. 

What wanes is the need, yearning, desperate longing for closure. The moments of desperation still arise. My heart skips beats when triggers prevail, though one learns to breath differently those times.  My eagerness for reconciliation, though welcomed as always, replaced – a mixture of gratitude and disbelief. Grateful they are alive and thriving young independent thinking women. Disbelief in that I did raise two daughters, did I not?  


After a time, the ‘why’s’ of estrangement lose the significance they once had. Each year, I’m learning, as a mother, I shall always be a mother. Each year, every year, my story moves in conjunction with theirs. 

There is no closure with estrangement. We can only begin to reconcile by beginning with ourselves. Perhaps a new chapter awaits. Let the language I love carry me further. 

We’ll find each other soon. 💜

Minimizing the Apologies

Narcissism exists. You are not crazy. 
That word, one which I paid little attention to before my divorce, I’m only now recognizing its significance in my life. The fear is paralyzingly real. To speak out, speak up, takes an enormous leap of faith…and a shitload of chutzpah.  

After many years and counting of self-reflection, pain, the perpetual deep-seeded self-doubt, slowly emerging, a whole being.

Life happens so gradually, so innocent of time. The criticism was always apparent, only to become more frequent as years rolled on. Sarcasm was used repeatedly to emphasize his disdain for certain things he didn’t like about me. Teasing the size of my nose, the way I laughed, mimicking my voice talking on the phone, using the expression ‘clown-girl’ when I would attempt the use of new makeup. Wow. I didn’t see it. At all. I grew to accept this part of us, as if it were simply who I was, who we were. I laughed along for years, accepting this behavior as normal, as I always embraced self-deprecating humor. Yet, after a time, sarcasm broadened and it wasn’t so funny anymore.  His lack of compassion, more apparent than before, caused concern. My voice, one that never quite matured enough before marriage, had risen, ready to speak, though more than not, opinions and thoughts were dismissed, discarded, discounted; his unwillingness to hear me. More comfortable reverting, acquiescence was always at the forefront within my comfortable role as wife and mom

There is no concrete moment, a specific ‘ah-ha’ to reckon with. Within a period of time, shortly before our separation and throughout our brief reconciliation, during our mediation and post-divorce, he convinced me, he convinced our kids, he convinced others, I was the crazy one. I had sociopathic tendencies. I wasn’t mentally stable. Made to believe I was broken, damaged, unworthy. I was the one who didn’t love or care for her family; who intentionally abandoned them in order to make a new life for herself. While I knew none of this to be true, I started to believe him. 

The crawl back up has been long, at times devastating; days certain I would remain in the rabbit hole. Let me just say, kids, the deeper one delves into their own psyche, the more fresh air one breaths. Depression is little excuse when it comes to hurting those we love; it is merely an added layer to a complicated situation. 

The pain in our marriage manifested differently, our discord, in parallel. Most of the blame came from within who I was, no one else.  It was then, a time too late, accountability became my mantra, as today I’m merely identifying so many “why’s” that came much later than I wanted, though now, a better human for going through the mistakes made. Insight is a tremendous gift only when one is able to escape the murky waters once lived in.  

Almost five years since divorce, the reality of how my marriage unravelled, the kind of man I was married to, what brought my kids to estrange themselves from me, I now acknowledge. I’ve made peace within myself, minimizing my apologies for other people’s decisions while accepting my own and those consequences thereafter. Estrangement from those you love is a journey that is never-ending. I grapple, think, learn, every day. I’m still me, only more of what I was years ago, with a tad greater touch of chutzpah. More than anything, I’m the real deal. And that is nothing I need apologize for. Nor need you. 

We’ll find each other soon. ❤