My daughter made me cry yesterday. It was that time of day, when light has slipped behind the veil of night and darkness blankets the sky in its enveloping embrace, calling my body to rest. I was lying in bed, breathing deeply, contemplating the pleasure of sleep when I decided to see if Alexis had posted her blog yet. Often, she posts after I have fallen asleep but when I checked my iPad, there her words were. And so were the tears.
They felt refreshing. Cleansing. Full of peace.
And I remembered.
Those days. Back then.
These days. In the here and now.
I remembered the sadness, the fear that my daughters would be lost to me forever. I remembered praying to God, the sun, the moon, the planets, and the sky that my daughters delicate hearts would know peace. That the pain and sorrow and anger that had swept into their lives through my journeying through the abuse of the relationship that had torn our lives apart, would ease, and that they would know — what had happened to me had nothing to do with my lack of love for them. It was all about my lack of love for myself.
And I prayed and I took another step away from the darkness into the light.
When I read my daughter’s post last night, I was reminded that amidst all my fears and sorrow and pain, there was one truth I knew could never be erased from my life — Love is all there is to hold onto.
I knew that from the moment of his arrest. It wasn’t clear yet, but I knew it, deep, deep down. I knew that to help my daughters, to give them guidance and light on their journey, I had to hold onto love — and let go of all the rest. And to do that, I had to surrender and fall in love with…. myself.
I’d like to say it was ‘easy’, but it wasn’t. The wounded part of me wanted to hold onto my self-loathing. It wanted to keep me ‘safe’ in anger.
But there was no safety in my anger. There was no love in self-loathing.
And so, I had to let go.
Alexis writes about the first time we chatted on the phone after he was arrested. I remember that call so well. I remember looking at the phone, wondering ‘should I call?’. Dare I?
And then, getting up from the table, walking the few short steps to where the phone sat, its little red light blinking, calling me to pick it up. It was mid-afternoon. The sun was streaming into the room. I could feel the molecules separating as they hit my skin. I remember telling myself to quit thinking about it and just do it.
and I did.
Pick up the phone. And in that one phone call, Love flooded into my heart. It rushed into the space between us and filled every breath and word and thought.
It wasn’t a smooth ride. There were moments when my daughters’ anger seared my skin and I wanted to run away and hide. Moments when my heart hurt so much I could barely breathe. But I knew. I knew that if I just kept holding out my arms. If I just kept giving them space to feel their feelings, emote their emotions in safe and loving ways then the anger and pain and sorrow and fear would flow free and we would be left with the only thing left to hold onto, Love.
In the absence of all else, only Love remains.
Ten years later, I read my daughters words and I felt Love flow freely. There is no pain and anger, no sorrow or regret or even fear to hold onto.
There is only the one thing that remains when I surrender all that was and fall into all that remains when I let go of holding onto the past, to fear or regret or all my “I wish I’d…”s, and release my heart to flow freely in what is true today and always has been and always will be — Love is all there is to hold onto.