Whoever thought letting go would be the hardest part?
When you’ve done as many years of analysing, therapy, counselling, processing, meditation, art therapy, music therapy, re-birthing (remember that?) and introspection as I have, you begin to wonder if there will ever be an end to it.
In short, no.
Those few years of childhood, confusion of your teens, followed by the fruitcake mixing years of your twenties, followed by the baking years of your thirties, upheaved by your forties (when you have to get the cake off your hips) and sliding in your fifties (when you realise it isn’t going), take a lot of getting over, on, through, out and done with. In fact, I largely suspect that we are never ‘done with’ it and spend our entire lives winnowing the chaff from the seed. How ironic that people of a certain age (and I don’t mean mine) will not recognise that saying, winnowing the chaff from the seed. This was a process (there’s that therapy word again) by which the un-useful portion of a seed head was fluffed out (technical term), leaving the heavier seed. I feel my fifties, and I’m only one year in, are my winnowing years.
There is a great deal I have learnt and even more that I have picked up through observation and careful listening. This listening is not something I indulged in as a teen or a twenty but came to grips with in my thirties when I realised all my errors. It’s quite disconcerting to realise that the know-it-all twenties don’t know much at all. I see it now in my young ones. They really do think they know everything and you have grey hair. Reminds me of when my youngest was six and became suddenly concerned that I was terribly old and would obviously die very soon. We had to have a number of conversations about my great age (I wasn’t) and what would happen when I died. I worked out that she wanted to know what was going to happen to her, she wasn’t too concerned with me. Sorted to her satisfaction, we happily sang “When I die, I’m gonna go to God and we’re gonna have a cup of tea” on many car trips.
I often tell my young ones to draw on their inner wisdom. I have persistently reminded (aka nagged), imparted sayings and my knowledge and wisdom that they must have absorbed some of it. When faced with a dilemma I ask them, what would you tell a friend with the same problem? Give yourself that same advice. I have to do this with myself too. If a friend came and said she was drowning in debt because the government had callously taken away the single parent health care card and now there are no concessions and utility bills have gone mad, what would I suggest? Oh yes, I’ll try that and let-it-go. If a friend came to me and was hurting because her child had left home, cut contact and their new partner of three months was controlling all communication, what would I say? This last one is a doozy and one I have been travelling through of late. The advice I give myself when I ask me is this, “Self”, I say, “Make it work for you. Leave the door open but don’t stand right behind it. They may come slamming back home. Just gently move back and wait for openings.” Easier said than done, but that’s all about letting go, isn’t it?
Most of the time we have distress about it situation is because we think it shouldn’t be like that. I learnt long ago that as soon as I heard me think the word “should”, look out. Sometimes situations just are like that. Now, I know my son is on his big adventure, living with his girlfriend for the first time and not actually doing anything to me. The fact that he has not called me once, only texted, is what it is. Sad and hurt is how I feel about it. The fact that I thought I was talking to him on Facebook only to discover it was his girlfriend shattered me. It seemed as though I was not going to get to talk to my son at all. (I showed my eldest the strange thing he had written, calling me by my name, and she said that’s not him but his girlfriend, speaking as him. I know, right?) Who knew that it was so painful for your child to move away and ‘forget’ you? I know I’m not really forgotten but we can only tell how someone feels toward us by their actions. Let it go.
Letting go. Not something I have been particularly good at. Not something any of us are particularly good at. I’m working on it though. My baby will be ready to leave home in just a few short (oh, so short) years and I had better be ready. Hmm, I’ll actually be child free then. What an interesting idea.
(c) CLHHarper April 2014