Forgiveness and Letting Go…

Forgiveness. The final fork-in-the-road decision where one must choose between love and hate. It’s when we can’t go forward, backwards, or up, until we choose left or right. Do we choose to forgive and let go of the hurt and sadness that’s consumed us? Or, do we choose to hold onto it, and never forgive? It is ultimately one of the biggest decisions we have in life, and if we choose wrong, it could haunt in the shadows and burden daily.

I was always one that held onto things for a while, until eventually the emotion came out with tears and I forgave. My mom thought it weird that I’d be crying over something from months before, rather than crying that very day the hurt first hit my chest. Call it strength, or call it weakness. Either way, I was able to let go of it, to truly deal with a life situation.

I truly feel my life is blessed, and that God has only given me challenges He knows I can take. That being said, it wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies growing up. With my parents at a constant disagreement, or rather a lack of understanding for each other, inevitably it led to their divorce. If I could say one thing about divorce if in any way to help educate others, it is this- divorce scars more than just the two that sign the parting papers. It hurts the children involved as well- they are losing half of their lives too.

It’s a very weird reality to live in. All of a sudden, Christmas is no longer the same white Christmas tree dressed in garland of red. Instead, it’s driving here and driving there. It’s a constant back and forth and I’ve felt like a yo-yo being played at the hand of divorce. I have moved on from my parents’ divorce. Both my parents have as well and are in new marriages. But, divorce really doesn’t go away, ever. I feel it’s a long battle on that road to forgiveness. No, I don’t want to start a “parent trap,” but I do miss that white Christmas tree.

Forgiveness is letting go so that we can move on with our own lives and not be pushed around by that word lurking in the shadows. For me, my word is divorce. To forgive my parents so that I can move on with my own life, trusting that someday I will have a successful marriage.

I can only hope that everyone else is able to move on faster towards forgiveness, sooner than later and choose love over hate every time. If forgiveness is something you just can’t do, then at least think about it. Come up with all sides of the situation and truly understand it. Work daily on trying to let go. You may not forget whatever the hurt is, but you will find a way to forgive so that you can live on. Find something important to you like for me it is writing, and find a healthy way to exercise forgiveness. Because one day, it will all blow away with the wind, leaving the shadows, and taking the heavy weight with. Forgiveness is freedom. And we have to work on it every day.

 

The Worst Day To Try Chi Tea…

It was the day of my mom’s surgery. I sipped on a vanilla chi tea latte a friend told me the night before I must try. It’s not bad, but has a zing aftertaste all over my taste buds. A taste I can only describe now as the taste of that day. I will probably never order it again. My regular coffee is much better. Mom drinks coffee every morning, too, except that morning because she couldn’t. She had plans to stop at Starbucks right after her surgery, but we both knew she wouldn’t feel up to it…yet, we were optimistic that maybe this surgery would be no big thing. My mom has always been so strong. When she told me of her breast cancer, she comforted me instead of herself. I guess that’s how moms are, though.

I showed up to the hospital very early in the morning to see her before her surgery. She had a nervous smile on her face and I kept smiling back at her, to comfort her. She had already been hooked up to machines, needles poked into her arms, and beeps echoing the room that I will never forget. A lumpectomy and total removal of the nipple, and putting in a port were the daily plans for her. I knew it would be tough, but wanted to get her through what must be done. My mom made the surgery sound so simple, so normal, and so easy, but that didn’t stop me from worrying. She made it seem like an ordinary day, but it was far from that.

The moment my mom told me her shocking news my insides crashed like a million cars going sixty at a red four-way stop. She was following me up stairs to my loft bedroom to see baby clothes I’d bought for my sister (my mom’s soon-to-be first grand baby). I wasn’t aware of the ocean’s wave tide behind me filled with worried tears and confusion. I picked up what will be the third generation’s little clothes and turned around to face that red stop light. Crash. Tears flooded and choked both of us when she told me she thinks she has breast cancer.

When the doctors said it’s time to say goodbyes I gave her another smile and slowly walked back to the waiting room, attempting my best to hide my worried eyes. I told my grandma and grandpa that we’d be back before she’s out of surgery in two hours. So Henry (my boyfriend of almost six years) and I went for coffee since it was so early in the morning. I was optimistic with the early sunny morning, yet worried, a weird combination…maybe it was positive confusion? Maybe I had daughter instinct and knew something wasn’t right. I just knew something wasn’t right. At this point all we knew was that there was a cancerous bump that they were removing.

I sipped that chi tea, anxious to get back to the hospital to see her in recovery. When we got back to the waiting room, we waited a few minutes then the doctor came in and told us she was out of surgery, but before we could see her, the doctor wanted to talk with us. We crowded our way into this smaller seating room filled with brochures. She told us that when she did the surgery and removed lymph she found a lot more cancer, spread so much it’s deep around veins and lit up all over her arm… “stage III at least” she said unable to promise anything. She also wasn’t able to put in a port, which is required for her chemo. Tears streamed my face and I found myself mad at the doctor. Henry comforted me and I wiped my tears dry so I could go see my mom with a smile on my face.

I walked back to see her flat on the hospital bed with a pink bloody band around her now uneven chest. I stood up by her head but she was still sleepy. Five minutes later, still sleepy. She should be waking up soon and be alert…but she’s not. We waited and waited. I spoke to her “hi mom” and when she saw me she smiled and said “did you get your coffee?” I held her hand and watched as she still wasn’t able to keep her eyes open. I should have just ordered coffee, not chi tea. Something isn’t right.

More and more doctors crept their way in the room staring at the blood pressure monitor. Lower and lower it crept. They’d ask her how she was feeling and she was still sleepy and hot. Each of us took turns talking to her and watching that monitor go lower as time went on. By now she should have been awake and able to leave the hospital. Eventually another doctor came in and called for tests on her heart and found liquid around her heart, and when asking her more questions realized she had already been diagnosed pre-diabetic. Why didn’t they know this BEFORE the surgery? I was so mad but when they saw this, the new doctor wasted no time calling med flight to our bigger city…where I wanted her to go in the first place.

I can’t remember how many tests they did and how many times they said “say goodbye.” Because honestly it was enough to make every hello a gift. My mom was med-flighted that day and spent days in the hospital. After that more and more doctor appointments, surgery to put the port in, and then chemotherapy. Last week I saw my mom with no hair and she is beautiful. It’s a gift that she is still here. Four days before mother’s day, my mom will have her last “red devil” chemotherapy until she moves on to the radiation every day. She is weak after chemotherapy and noxious. Her eye sight is affected from all the pills she takes and she has no energy and is losing weight. The crazy thing about all of this is how fast it happened.

This mother’s day, I’m going to plant flowers for my mom’s “outdoor escape” as she calls it. Her place to escape everything around her. Where hummingbirds fly around her sitting on the swing and where she can drink her favorite coffee on her rare good days.

Silver Linings In All That Changes

Summer is coming. I can feel it secretly in the air. It’s waiting to warm the ground and bring the colorful birds back. When I was younger, my mom would fill all the hummingbird feeders around our white porch. Dad would get beautiful blooming flowers and hang them near the feeders. My younger sister and I would put on our small bikinis and jump in the pool out back. I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss that.

But life changes and people change with it. Whether its for the worse, the better, or just because. Sometimes it’s hard to understand change and all that comes with it. After each winter, we are faced with the change of people and we continue life in a new year. Then, comes summer. The grass grows, children play outside, birds chirp, the sun stays out longer, and our feet feel warm. It’s like the light at the end of the tunnel.

As this summer approaches, I am faced with three things. Different in every aspect, yet all a big change in someone’s life. And it seems all three come out at the same time. My dad will be getting remarried. My sister will be growing a baby bump. And finally, my mom will be losing her hair. I never thought I would have to see her go through something like this…breast cancer.

Do I think she is right for him? Do I think my sister is ready for a baby? Is my mom able to do this? To be honest…I really don’t know how all of this will work out. I’m just looking at the silver linings in all of it.

To start, my dad was lonely for so long after my mom. He works hard and wants someone to share his life with. So, however crazy she may seem at times, the silver lining is that my dad won’t be lonely anymore.

Next, my sister. She’s been lost searching for her purpose for years after high school. So much ambition, just not in college. She wants more from life…kinda how I feel now. Expecting a baby has changed her life in such a good way right now. This is only the beginning for her. And me? I’m the lucky one to be the Godmother and Aunt! I’m also planning the baby shower. Silver linings.

My mom. Someone who has always been there for me through thick and thin. When she was poor to when she was rich and poor again. She’s always known what to say. Finding out she has breast cancer has changed her daily life, almost instantly. This must be the tipping point. I’ve never seen her more ambitious. It is only the beginning though. Many months of chemotherapy are ahead of her. The silver lining here…I still have my mom at my side, and now it’s my turn to help her.

As summer comes, my mom will get sick, my dad remarried, and my sister will grow a baby bump. What will I do? I will plan a baby shower, plant my garden of beautiful blooms and whisper three times to the hummingbirds, silver linings, silver linings, silver linings.

 

Love, life, and happiness…

You can define it. You can even describe it. But, how do you actually feel love, life, and happiness? And how do you know you are in love and living life with happiness? To answer that, it all comes from
the heart. A part of us that we can see deep within the iris, like sparks between young love. aa2b57f7-2c82-4a28-8ec0-54793c8f37a8_zps28238790You feel it inside. To know what love is, one must know hate. To know what life is, one must know death. And finally, to know happiness, one must know sadness.

Some of the most inspiring people I know have gone through loss, have lived through times of sadness, and yes, lost love. My grandma, the most inspiring person I know is one of these special people. She had a young love many, many years ago. She still talks of him, the love of her life.

He was working in Illinois when she was living in Wisconsin. He was tall, dark, and handsome with the kindest heart is how she describes my grandpa to me. One day, she found out she was pregnant and like many at that time marriage soon followed.

The day they were married, he was to meet her in Wisconsin. The whole time she waited, months, her mother said he won’t show up, “he’s not coming.” She told her mom that he would be there, and she believed in him. She loves him still as he is gone. The day they were to get married, he was five minutes late, “I forgot the ring and had to go back.” They got married and had five children. My mom was the baby.

But, something happened. Something terrible happened. A furnace blew up while he was working on it in the house. The burns were so bad, that they took my grandma’s love from her and left her with their five children. Sadness.

Today, my grandma is the most inspiring woman I know. How? She’s gone through a lot and has learned that love lives on. It lives on in all of us. She is a special person because throughout all the sadness, she remains happy-grateful for the time she had with him. To know happiness, one must know sadness. She is one of the happiest people I know. She’s grateful for the happy memories she had with him, her love.

I think that’s what happiness and living is about. Cherishing the precious moments you can hold onto for a lifetime. He may be gone, but he is forever in my grandma’s heart. I know he is watching over her from heaven.

When she talks of him today, and I see those beautiful pictures from the past, her eyes always light up. Life, to me, is defined by the love we carry with us and the happiness that those loved ones and memories bring us. Love will always live on and I’ve learned to hold onto moments, moments with the love of my life. I know happiness, because I know what sadness is. The faster we learn to be grateful and love, the happier our lives will be.