Laying it all out there

All through the night I’ll be watching over you
And all through the night I’ll be standing over you
And through bad dreams I’ll be right there baby
holding your hand, telling you everything’s going to be alright
When you cry I’ll be there baby
telling you were never nothing less than beautiful
So don’t you worry
I’m your angel standing by

–Jewel–

I was very young when Jewel’s first album came out.  I think maybe I was 10 or 11.  It wasn’t until I was a couple years older that I actually started listening to it and totally fell in love with it.  I listened to that CD for years, all through high school.  It’s been years since I’ve listened to some of those songs, but I was browsing iTunes the other day and decided to preview the songs to bring back some memories.  The last song on the album is called Angel Standing By, the lyrics are up there, and are simple, but reassuring at the same time. 

This past month I’ve been replaying things in my head over and over again.  All of the “lasts” that I had with my mom.  Knowing that we were drawing in on the one year mark.  Feeling like a year seemed to go by so quickly, yet so slowly at the same time.  Having a year full of days where there wasn’t a single one that went by that I didn’t think about how I wished I could share something that happened with her. 

Sometimes there comes a time when you have to acknowledge that what you’re doing isn’t working.  I tried to chug along this year and focus on my responsibilities–the responsibility of being a good wife, taking care of an elderly father, fulfilling the duties of my job.  But in trying to do all of those things, I neglected to focus on the responsibility of taking care of myself.  I’ve participated in therapy for about a year and a half–I began going when my dad became very ill and nearly died.  I struggled dealing with the eventual mortality of my parents and felt a lot of guilt surrounding his illness.  Guilt that I couldn’t prevent bad things from happening to the people that I love.  I realize that seems like an irrational guilt, but sometimes people have irrational feelings.  I needed help learning how to cope better and learning how to ask for help sometimes.  Of course I had no idea that just a few months after I started seeing my therapist that I would lose Mom.  I continued to see her throughout this year, but it wasn’t enough.  I was treading water for so long and I was running out of strength.  With the encouragement of my sweet husband, I went to the doctor to ask for medication to help.  And it has, to a certain degree.  It certainly doesn’t solve my problems, but it at least leaves me feeling more capable to deal with them, and more motivated to try harder.

But even with the help of therapy and anti-depressants, there’s no denying that the one-year benchmark of a loss is something I’m struggling with.  Along with my sadness, I’ve held on to a lot of anger this year.  Anger at things that were said to me in my mother’s final days, or things that went unsaid.  My whole life, everyone always told me how similar I was to my mom, in my appearance, my personality, and my kind heart.  Everyone who knew her had nothing but kind things to say about her, and after she passed, I heard so many times that she was loved by so many.  But despite being told my whole life how alike we were, I haven’t felt the love from our extremely large family much at all in this past year.  And I suppose some of my anger comes from that.  Again, I try to be rational, knowing that others are grieving a loss also, and that everyone deals with that in their own way, but I can’t help but feel that what made me family to so many people was my mom’s presence… and that without her, I’m just another person.

But it’s time to let go of that anger.  It’s not healthy for me, and it doesn’t solve anything.  My mom would tell me to forgive.  And I don’t think that forgiveness is for the other person, I think that forgiveness is something you do for yourself.  You don’t have to have an apology from other people, in fact, they can even refuse to acknowledge that they were in the wrong for anything at all… you can still choose to forgive them.  For you.  And that’s what I’m working on doing.

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2 thoughts on “Laying it all out there

  1. Oprah says this thing, “Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different.” Which I think is so true. Forgiveness is not about saying that it’s OK what happened, but saying that you know you can’t change it and need to move on and grow from whatever happened. I have had similar issues with members of my family and whenever I’m having trouble trying to forgive, I remember this. I remember that it’s not about that person, it’s not about telling them that it’s OK what they did or said or whatever, but forgiveness is about me letting go of the anger/resentment/whatever and acknowledging that I can’t change the past and it’s much better to let things go and move on in order to be happy than to spend one more second of my life in anger and hurt.

    Hang in there Teale.

    PS. I love that Jewel song too… in fact, I love the whole album.

  2. It took me something like 8 years to let go of the anger surrounding my mother’s death. Even now I have brief flashes of it. It’s hard.

    Hugs, Teale.

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