Thursday, September 15, 2011
I had an intense, emotion-filled day last Friday. I thought someone had stolen some important papers, but was reminded I had moved them for safekeeping when Irene was coming--in time to prevent my accusation from harming an innocent person. That experience helped open a tiny crack of doubt in my certainty that my sister was the one who stole my jewelry after I took my kids and left my husband 2 1/2 years ago. Just like the experience last Friday, all the evidence pointed to that conclusion, but if I was wrong about that, then maybe, just maybe I was wrong about my sister, too. It wouldn't change the other ways she was very cruel to me, but if the situation were reversed and I was accused of something I didn't do, I'd be pissed, too.
That insight (and a well-timed therapist appointment) helped me look at other places within me where I was holding on to guilt or shame. For the first time, I was willing to acknowledge my "legitimate guilt" for the way I ended my marriage. Yes the situation was complex, and yes, there was blame on both sides, but the fact remains I could have made other choices and I didn't. I did not consider the impact of my choices on him--or on the rest of my family (Silly me--I thought it was our private business). From here, I was able to finally own and acknowledge that guilt and let it go. (A few of the indispensable tools I used are EFT tapping, and Colin Tipping's book Radical Self-Forgivenss. I've been a fan of Colin's work on Radical Forgiveness for some time. Look him up -- it really works).
Serendipitously, I found myself face to face with my ex about 2 hours later - he could not fit our daughter's walker into his car with her stroller and our son's new wheelchair. After the kids were settled, I faced him and sincerely apologized for the pain I caused him for the way I left. He didn't say much, but I could tell he was moved.
Big stuff. But it doesn't stop there. I continued that theme of self-reflection and cleaning up the past through the weekend and on Monday I mailed out 4 envelopes: The first was the cheek swab test kit so I can be tested as a potential stem cell donor for my sister. There's a 1 in 4 chance that I'll be a match. I sent out the Birthday card I got for my Dad (his birthday was 9/8) and an anniversary card for my parents (9/12 is their anniversary). I also sent them a note in which I enclosed a printout of the email response from my bankruptcy lawyer who said that "the idea that anything in the bankruptcy prevents you and your parents from having a relationship is simply ridiculous." In my note I acknowledged their hurt and anger and took responsibility for not considering their feelings as I made my choices. I quoted my brother (without saying it was him) "We all inherit a present bequeathed to us by a younger, stupider version of ourselves." I told them I love them and pray for them and that will continue whether they choose to contact me or not.
And I was done!! I could FEEL that I finally have let go of everything in me that was "hooking" into the negativity. After fighting every inch of the way to lift myself to a higher perspective, I arrived. I reached the summit, and FELT that mountaintop sense of accomplishment. With the sense of peace that comes from knowing I have done all that is mine to do and fully surrendering the outcome. It is done!
But wait, there's more!
Not even two hours after I dropped those cards in the mailbox, my phone rang. Why is he calling me now? I wondered. I'm not supposed to pick up the kids until after 9 pm. It's only 6:30 pm. My ex told me he had just sprained his arm badly and cannot lift anything. So I need to come to Tiverton to pick up the kids tonight, instead of meeting at our usual meeting place and time. And, oh yes-- they are at my parents house.
Such synchronicity! Total God Job. My prayer partner from the Unity church I belonged to in KS called for her regular monthly check-in call to pray with me just as I set out on my way.
My father literally welcomed me in with open arms, hugging me and repeating "It's so good to see you." My mother was still a little hesitant, but I told her I had just put the response from my lawyer in the mail to her that day, and what it said. To which she said "Good." and let me hug her. She then said "I'll need some time," and I told her "I'm not pushing."
I sat down with them and had a piece of the delicious birthday cake my daughter made for my father. This visit went better than I could have ever imagined. It's not the end of the journey, by any means. It's a step. But a big one! And the title of this blog is actually literally true -- They sent me home with the rest of the cake!!