Saturday, March 18, 2017

Those Who Broke My Heart

Letting Go | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Time to release the baggage
back into the Universe.
Watching a video clip of women who were more than 100 years old and counting, I wondered what really made the difference between illness and longevity. I watched the video again. They had little grooming and healthy living tips to share, but the common thread was their genuine happiness. 

What does it take to be that happy? Conversely, what causes all the unhappiness?

Over the years, I've struggled with various forms of grief over the loss of loved ones, whether it be the loss of a relationship or the loss of life. Unfortunately, I've carried much of that with me, letting each new sense of loss pile into my increasingly expanding baggage. 

It's difficult to be happy all the time when you're focused on balancing a tower of grief.

Of course, I had to let it all go. Between inspirational GIFs on social media and daytime television, we all know we need to "simply" let go and move on to find peace and happiness.

I decided to start by envisioning each of the centenarians opening their bags of grief and loss and tossing them into the wind, out a window or overboard. If they could empty their bags and maintain lighter loads, certainly I could, too. While I might be an emotional hoarder, I am also rather competitive and stubborn.

The next step had to be finding a way to access the baggage in order to let go of all that I'd acquired over the years. It was time to step out of the metaphor and into my reality. 

As a writer, I knew what I had to do. The only way to let go was to face those who broke my heart, take ownership for my own shortcomings, give back to them and the universe what was theirs, and be done with the grief. And I had to do it through the vessel of words. Once the exercise was done, there would be plenty of room or the happy memories to fill my sails and catapult me through to a long, happy, healthy, fulfilled life.

So, here they are  my written messages to all those who broke my heart, filling the bags that have been weighing me down; my releases back to the Universe; and my plans for moving forward.

To my childhood friend, who died and broke my heart: It was not anyone's fault. You never intended to leave. I accept, and apologize for, the fact that I was too young to understand the immensely deep sense of loss felt by your family. I also know my life became richer for knowing you, and for that I am grateful. I give the shock and sorrow back to the Universe. The hours of carefree childhood happiness I will always keep close to my heart.

To my high school boyfriend, who decided he wanted to see someone else and broke my heart: I know we were young and that love was not meant to be. My expectations weren't realistic. I release the pain, confusion and embarrassment into the Universe. I remain grateful for the lessons and good times, as well as the part that relationship played in my life's path.

To my first child, who passed away before we could ever see his or her face: I know you would have stayed if you could. Selfishly, I've thought often about the notion that had you stayed, I would not have the three amazing children, your brothers, that came after you left. I release the grief, guilt, pain and fear back to the Universe. I'll always be grateful for the role you played in ushering me into motherhood. 

To my ex-husband, who shattered my naive perceptions of love, marriage and family: Nearly two decades after the fact, I let go of blame, hurt, anger and a myriad of other emotions that plagued me for so long. I let go of insecurities, cynicism and an inability to trust as I send it all back to the Universe. I will be eternally grateful for the three children that our faulty union created and the role it played on my path toward strength, success and love. 

To my father, who succumbed to cancer: The emotions are still so raw, but I have to let the Universe peal away the frustration, anger, sadness, emptiness and grief. You were an amazing dad who believed in us, set the bar high while helping us reach it, demanded our best, provided for us and loved us unconditionally. Rather than let the grief weigh me down, I will stand tall on the foundation you so selflessly built.

To Charlie, Seven, Tiger, Stout, Trixie and all of the beloved pets I've lost over the years, who breezed in and out of my life: You provided comfort, companionship and unconditional love. Those are the things I will keep close to my heart. The rest, the sadness and grief, may go back to the Universe.

To my siblings, who I naively assumed were built-in lifetime friends: I apologize for expecting us to all be close, measuring our relationships against other families' sibling relationships. I take responsibility for refusing for so long to acknowledge how very different we all truly are. I release into the Universe my expectations and the need to try so hard to make everything perfect. Life isn't perfect. I am grateful for the shared experiences and the many good times. I carry forward only happy memories and a respect for your individuality. I am at peace knowing it's perfectly okay to be relatives, rather than close friends.

To my mother, who is battling Alzheimer's: None of us asked for this, yet it is our shared destiny — you the patient and me the caretaker. To the Universe, I open my tight fist and let go of the anger, confusion, stress, weariness and questions. You have been an amazing mom, one that rivaled the likes of June Cleaver and Carol Brady, but with a feisty flair of Sicilian personality. Much of my success as a mother and a person I owe to your examples and love. Moving forward, I will focus on drinking in your smile, enjoying your laughter and continuing to care and advocate for you as you did for me. 

To my boys, who are growing up and finding their own way: I take full responsibility for your independence, success and self-sufficiency. I give back to the Universe the pangs of sadness and emptiness that creep up beside me in our much emptier house. My focus will be on pride and love as I keep close to my heart the memories of your growing-up years and look forward to watching you make your ways in this world with success, good health and love.

To my husband: We've had our ups and downs, but you have proven to be my best friend, biggest fan and partner in crime. You helped me raise three amazing men. To the Universe, I release the struggles and strife, the disagreements and disappointments. in my heart, mind and soul, I will focus on all that we have built and all that we are as a couple and family. 

To me: It is okay to be human, to make mistakes, to be different, to struggle and to fail. I release my shortcomings into the Universe and will do my best to use the experiences to rise above, grow and become the best me possible. 

Every step I've taken has brought me to this place, and I am grateful for every single one, good and bad. The good was mild and easy, like an early spring day. The bad carved out the character, strength and beauty, like the tedious and unrelenting erosion that created the Grand Canyon.

Check back in about 55 years to see if this exercise worked, setting me on that path toward happy, healthy longevity!

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books and aspiring novelist. 
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Copyright 2017 Michele Bare

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