Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Let It Go, Let It Happen

"You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope. ~ Thomas Merton
The following was written in stream of consciousness - sort of - one draft, no edit ... 

Today we buried my mother in law which elicited a whole slew of feelings and reminiscences not the least of which is the memory of hearing my mom had died by a phone call from the bank. You might say this explains a lot if you knew me better than you do. You all know me from these pages and that is all. I am happy to say I am a bit deeper than what you witness here, the sum of my parts do not begin and end with the My Parent Depot postings but a lot here points you to how I got to where I am today. 

But this is and should never be about me it is about us and if it ever does become solely about me  - which would make for some terribly boring and tiresome reflections - you have my permission to contact the blog police to put all of us out of our collective misery.

My mother-in-law's funeral and my subsequent same-day decision to write my stream of consciousness blog is not a coincidence. As we all know there are no coincidences in life, simply the Universe' way of directing us to where we should be or who we should be with or avoiding. But this serendipity of my wife's mother's funeral and some time on my hands to begin writing again has a celestial purpose. 

What I learned during the week leading up to the funeral and the two days spent in desperate mourning by the family, my wife, her brother and sister during the visitation and internment was that I have changed

OK, something about ME again, but hang in there - there's a point to this.

My relationship with my mother in law was not necessarily contentious but because I met her only during the last 28 of her 91-1/2 years of life I was a bit less accustomed to her negativity, quirks and tendency to disparage her children especially my wife so I didn't have the history and hence the tools to fight off a personality fashioned by a great depression a world war and a husband who came back from that war with a nasty case of WWII PTSD (read shell shock). 

Funerals are terrible things that families can make even more terrible but not in this case. The three siblings  - all fifteen feet of them ... they're a very short family - took the opportunity provided by the death of their mother to amplify the love they have for each other. The visitation was a time for sharing, our two boys, the son that brought me to this journey and the son who drove both his parents crazy during the three last years of high school were able also to re-establish bonds they had lost when pot and pills took our older boy away to the addiction. Friends and extended family were able to see this love, and the re-bonding it was a beautiful thing to see.

I was told not once but at least three times how I had changed I knew I had but it took more than one person to tell me this truth in the captive setting for me to hear it. The funeral ended with a prayer requested from the three, the sister and sister and brother. They not being particularly religious but very spiritual I was not sure what was coming. This is what followed - the Al-Anon Serenity Prayer:
"God, grant me the Serenity | To accept the things I cannot change | The Courage to change the things I can | And the Wisdom to know the difference | Living one day at a time | Enjoying one moment in time | Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace | Taking as He did | This sinful world as it is, not as I would have it | Trusting that He will make things right if I surrender to His will | That I may be reasonably happy in this life | And supremely happy with Him in the next."
This is the first moment I allowed myself to cry. I cried tears of happiness for years ago finding the courage to lay prostrate on the ground, beaten and begging for someone or some THING to take the burden of my son's addiction from me I cried tears of sadness that my wife had lost her mother after five years of Alzheimer's and a mercifully quick death due to sepsis and other complications I cried for our children and the other grandkids who had lost their last grandparent I cried for the family that had taken me in after not knowing family fully and lovingly in my former life.

We were all reminded by my wife's big sister that grandma had at one point turned to Al-Anon to turn her life around - I had forgotten this. The message was clear from the Universe, God, god, the Great Creator, the universe or whatever power by which we can explain away the unexplainable, the coincidences and the synchronicities of life that can guide and propel us along our journeys to our truest selves if we allow it.

This had all happened for me and can happen for us all if we simply let go and trust, trust that there is something out there that can take our struggles off our shoulders and disperse them across the stars to the heavens and above and beyond throughout the universe to let The Addiction know we will no longer be a hand puppet to its master plan of keeping our children mired and stuck in its stench and stink.

Our lives may not be perfect but we can be happy and grow each and every day to become as close to who we are meant to be as we possibly can and I am certain that our children will see this and want a part of the victories, the struggles, the failures and exuberant finish-line crosses that they see us experience. There are millions of souls along the journey to buoy us along as we let loose of the addiction tether mid flight. Trust we may falter but we will not fail, stumble but not fall, but if we fall we WILL get up.

We can change if we want it. In the words of Elsa In Frozen:
"Let it go, Let it go! | And I'll rise like the break of dawn | Let it go, Let it go | That perfect girl is gone | Here I stand in the light of day | Let the storm RAGE on | The cold never bothered me anyway.
I love that last line  - very deep - think about it. 

It is our liberation we are talking about it is our emancipation and our lives and the lives of our children we are talking about here and I saw it these few days at work as the spirit of a family matriarch rose up to inspire each and everyone of us - and now YOU! - to the greatness we can achieve if we, maybe, just don't try so damn hard.

Keep letting go and ...
... keep coming back 
"Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do." ~ Benjamin Spock