The movement toward “making a better past” came not in a minuscule way.
It came with a cataclysmic crash the day we buried my father.
Because that day I found myself with no other option but to accept he was gone.
I loved him so deeply, for so long that I had really kinda created a denial based defense mechanism..
Incapable of conceptualizing my life without him, I never really consciously accepted that one day he would not be anywhere I could see him.
Then in a flash I was left with only the hole I felt in the place where I once thought my heart was.
The pain and sense of loss that day literally drove me to my knees beside the hole into which they were lowered him .
And Bam! I was lowered to one of the darkest moments I have experienced.
There was very little light defining me when I finally got home that night.
I said things to one of the most important people in my sphere left on the planet that night.
Hurtful, ugly, painful things that could only have been said from a place where I was consumed by fear.
Fear of how would I be in his absence.
The light that defines me flickered very dimly that night and I said things that changed my world .
It is a past I want so much to make better.
News flash… No can make a better past!
I’ve had a few years now to figure out how I might have approached it differently.
The first thing I do now is to accept.
Acceptance is the very first step to a better past.
Acceptance of what is allows me to avoid taking an active role in making life messier.
The only place from where a better solution might be discovered is a place that is not rooted in denial.
Denial is only a prolongation of the suffering, since I can’t move on from what I don’t recognize.
If I steadfastly deny the inevitable I may delude myself into moments of temporary distraction but in the end the inevitable is exactly that …inevitable.
In 19 days my eldest daughter is leaving home and moving to the west.
And this time the hole will not consume me.
As this time I will approach the same fear from a different view.
Instead of denying the pain until reality slams over me, this time I am choosing to take it on the chin in daily sparring matches with acceptance.
Only instead of one giant Muhammad Ali right hook I am leaning into small jabs to the chest.
Mindfully allowing myself to feel just a tablespoon of sadness now, has allowed me to right size the the inevitable.
I will miss her more than I can say.
That is just a fact.
She has been one of my anchors in the last couple years and we have had some deeply rewarding conversations as she emerges presenting the beautiful spirit she is to the world.
Yet, I must accept that her life is calling now and while I might want to deny the day will arrive, I really don’t want a repeat of the last time I tries that!
So every day I take a small dose of acceptance in whatever form it comes…bitter pill of fear and sadness or joy in the recognition of the woman she has become.
Both touch the familiar fear of …
“what will I be in her absence”
This practice of allowing bite size chunks of the fear has served me well…so far.
Acceptance allows me to feel and digest small portions of emotion every day. Like filling some small bags of sand on the banks of the river of my life, in order to prevent a tsunami from washing away my heart again.
It has not been pain-free, but it has lead me to believe that I will not be ill prepared and caught off guard nor will there be a second cataclysmic clash.
Choosing to take small bites of what scares me, leaves me feeling like I have the power of choice.
And choosing to surrender is the last/best gesture of power I will ever make!
So every day I let a little out, lean a little in and prepare to make tomorrow’s past better.