Recently I came about a very short, but impactful quote. One that struck me like a lightening bolt.
It takes time to heal, but it also takes courage.
At the beginning of our tumultuous journey with dementia, we carried on for quite some time without a diagnosis for June. This resulted in profound stress and anguish.
Due to my confusion and her increasingly questionable, abnormal behavior, I said some really upsetting things to my mom. On the inside I was spiraling. I was experiencing all of those ugly feelings we as humans try so hard to avoid at all costs.
Where was my compassion and patience? What was wrong with my mom?
Once we received a proper diagnosis, I spent a few solid years beating myself up. I felt terrible for the memories I created. Terrible for the things I said. I let my mind and heart go in dark places and spaces. Places that are the exact opposite of what I am accustomed to cultivating for myself. You know – sparkles, unicorns, and sunshine.
While I struggled with my mom’s dementia and to add on to the guilt I was already experiencing, I found myself keeping score of who asked me about June. Who took the time out of our conversation to inquire about her or me.
The truth is, I was pissed off at a lot of people. A double dose of truth, I was just plain pissed off.
It wasn’t until after June died that I became released of those gross feelings. Not because she was no longer around to be asked about, but because I finally realized something quite powerful.
I realized that many people didn’t have an inkling of what I was going thru. How could they? And why should they? They’re not me. They are them and they have their own journey to explore. Their own hardships. Their own joys and sorrows. Sadness gave me a false sense that my situation was most important. And it wasn’t. It was just part of my journey.
Once I let that sink into my thick skull, I felt free.
That additional self-inflicted anger and resentment disappeared.
It’s true what they say – you realize your true bonds with fellow humans during times of despair. Those are the beautiful memories and connections I am choosing to hang onto. Not all of that other meaningless emotionally draining garbage. What’s the point?
When I began to forgive and let go of my anger towards others, it created space for me to do the same for myself.
Slowly, but surely, the guilt I had, and trust that some still lingers, had begun to slowly fade away. I found that when I allowed myself to forgive others, how could I be so silly to continue to be so cruel to my own self? I had to forgive me.
Indeed, it takes time to heal, but it also requires all the courage and heart you got.
As we are graced with this new season of fall – June’s most favorite season of them all – I have reminded myself to let go of what is no longer serving me and hold space for myself and for that of others.
If I could, I’d apologize to my mom. She’d tell me not to “get snippy” again and off to a Greek restaurant we’d go.
It seems that grief and I are still learning to become acquainted with one another, one life lesson at a time….