Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

My heart is strong

33 Comments

My daughters asked me last night at dinner when I was going to have my meltdown before the wedding.

I don’t have meltdowns, I told them.

And my youngest daughter looked at me with that look of disbelief daughters do so well and asked, “Really mom? What about that night you landed in hospital?”

Children have such unforgiving memories of their parents sometimes.

The night in question was just after I had moved back to Calgary, after the man whose lies and manipulations that almost killed me had sent him to jail.

After a year and a bit in prison, The Parole Board had let me know of his release to a half-way house in Calgary. I was hyper conscious of my surroundings. Working with a security consultant I was, ‘target-hardening’ my home and my life so that we could be safe and live with peace of mind.

But, the fear existed. It lived on the periphery of my thinking, a constant niggling at my mind to ‘be aware’ of everything going on around me. One evening, I had gone to a friend’s for dinner and he had fed me his world famous peach martini’s. I had known this man for many years but on this night, he informed me of his long time affection for me.

I didn’t feel the same way about him and didn’t want to hurt his feelings so I said nothing. He took my silence as an invitation and tried to kiss me.

And that’s when my walls came tumbling down.

I did not want to be kissed. I did not want to be up close and personal with a man. I did not want a man. Period.

Fortunately, he got the message, backed off and walked me home.

Problem was, the dam had burst and I couldn’t get myself together. I cried and shivered and at one point sat on the grass and sobbed. It was as though, after two years of having to deal with not just the spectre of ‘the bad man’ somewhere on the horizon but also my daughters’ fear of his presence coming back into our lives, and my own work of healing the woundedness within me, I broke wide open and let go.

I let go of holding myself and all of it together.

I let go of being strong.

I let go of being the one with all the answers.

I broke.

When my friend got me home I was a mess. Concerned for my well-being, he called 9-1-1. When my address came up in their database, they found my file flagged because of the ‘bad man’s’ release from prison. Respond immediately.When the ambulance and police arrived. I remember continually repeating, “I can’t keep my daughters safe.  I can’t keep my daughters safe.”

When they checked their database further, they too grew concerned.

And therein lay the challenge. My fears were real. I wasn’t imagining them or making them up. They were real and I had been trying to pretend that while I knew they were real, I was handling it all.

In my desire to protect my daughters from my fears, I had been holding them in the container of, “I need to do everything I can to keep myself and the girls safe. I can’t predict or control what he will do. I can only take care of us”.

I had done everything to ‘target harden’ our lives. It was my heart that was the problem.

It was broken and I had been carrying the burden of its brokenness alone. I was tired.

When my friend tried to kiss me, my fear of letting down my guard, of letting myself feel again broke through.

It was shortly after that my beautiful friend NR went to Choices and invited me to go too. Thanks to her, the deep and lasting healing of my heart, and my family, began in earnest.

Daughters’ memories are long though. That evening doesn’t resonate in my memory. I only think of it when one of them mentions it — and usually they only speak of it in context to their fears of my falling apart.

Daughters count on the strength and courage of their mothers. They count on them to always be there. To be witness to their daughters’ tears and fears and pain and sorrows, and the good times too.

And we are, but what we don’t show our daughters is how much we carry their tears and fears and pains and sorrows. We don’t show them how our hearts break when theirs are broken. How are arms ache when theirs are left holding nothing but air after a love gone wrong or a dream shattered.

We show our daughters our strength and seldom our moments of weakness.

On that night long ago, I couldn’t hold it together any longer. I let it go. And in the letting go my healing began in earnest and the transformation of the pain into loving and forgiving myself began.

For my daughters, that night has not been transformed into the seminal moment where I saw clearly I had to let go. It remains in their memories as the night mom fell apart.

I am getting married on Saturday. My heart is bursting wide open with joy and love and feeling safe and feeling embraced by this man whom I trust and cherish and know loves and cherishes me.

I’m not planning a meltdown before Saturday. There’s no need because in marrying C.C., in stepping whole-heartedly into our life together, I have nothing to fear. My heart is strong and I am safe.

 

 

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Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe we each have the capacity to be the change we want to see in the world, to make a world of difference. I believe we are creative beings on the journey of our lifetimes. It's up to each of us to Live It Up and SHINE!

33 thoughts on “My heart is strong

  1. Wow. Thanks for sharing. I relate in so many ways to this but want to just honor your story and leave it alone here today.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Elgie,

    Count me among those friends who have never kissed you – but always been very fond.

    Count me among those who wish you great buckets of congratulations on the upcoming nuptials.

    Count me among those who admire your strength, your resolve, your resiliency and your attitude.

    Count me among those who see you as both glorious and profoundly human – a kind person in a world which has not always been kind in return.

    Count me among those who think you are cool.

    Count me among your fondest fans of your writing. The painting – that’s an acquired taste – but the writing, is almost always awesome and awe inspiring.

    Count me happy for you … because you’ve found a bliss-life-package most of us envy.

    Count me happy you’ve crossed my path and I’ve crossed yours.

    And … when you get back from the giddy-moon, we have work to do!

    Go, be happy, have fun and count many of us as envious,

    Cheers,

    Mark

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mark, Thank you.

      Your words are beautiful and heart-warming and soul-lifting. I feel blessed to know you too.

      Much love and yes, when I get back in May, we must get to work! And — tee hee — giddy-moon! Love it! 🙂

      Like

  3. Crying beautiful tears for you Louise!! You are so beautiful in your vulnerability, so full of love in your truth. This union looks really good on you and you deserve this peace….this sanctuary….this love! May your week be filled with beauty as you get set to profess your undying love for this man…a very good man…that you will spend the rest of your life with!! Much, much love to you. Remember the past is the past…but it allows us to be in the present! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhhh Lorrie. Deep breath. Feeling my heart expand in the soothing beauty of your words. Thank you! And yes, he is … a very good man… an dyes, I am blessed in both the past which is the past, and the present which is all there is right now. Hugs my friend. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful, melting, strong, powerful, surviving, vulnerable, and brave post, Louise. Just like you! Best wishes and love to you and yours for the celebrations ahead.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Sometimes falling apart is the only way to rebuild. Great story and thanks for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My heart aches for you as you recount the Hell that man put you through. You are now being rewarded with love and safety and all things you deserve. Beautiful post, Louise 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Cannot wait to see you and give you a big hug and kiss. Peter will be by my side as he has for the 52 years. Sorry you went through a bad time but glad we will be there when you embrace the love and contentment your marriage will bring.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh Louise. What a vulnerable and beautiful post. Suddenly so much makes sense to me and I love you even more. ❤ Happy wedding on Saturday!
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Louise this post is so beautifully expressed. I must admit we Mums don’t have to be strong all the time but we feel bad when we aren’t. My daughter has seen me at my wits end when we deal with the challenges of autism in our lives. i think it is good for them to know we don’t have the answers to everything and we do cry about stuff. But I get why you would want to be strong for your children and I bet they will be so happy watching you marry the man that has your heart. Looking forward to the wedding photos. I hope you share at least one.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Congratulations, dear friend. I recall the days of your story and shared with you a few “melt-downs, ” as well. I’m so pleased to to share your happiness, today, and for many days to come.

    Love you,
    Judy

    Like

    • Oh Judy, how wonderful to read your note and to feel your presence. Yes, those were the days, weren’t they my friend? We were so courageous, so broken, and so determined to heal. And here we are! Shining brightly. Loving. Living. Being our most amazing selves.

      Love you too my dear friend.

      Louise

      Like

  11. So much love and tenderness and congratulations to you and C.C. as you begin another chapter
    of your lives and love:) So much heart-melting passion here, I’m trembling a bit inside.
    I love the way you heal and heal and embrace and live to love again:)
    Bravo, braveheart. You are a gorgeous bride:)
    -Jennifer

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Whole hearted expansive love and joy!!! So so happy for you Louise 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh Louise! I got goosebumps while reading this story. Sharing it with us shows how much strength you have got from your past experience. I am so happy though that you are surrounded by love and happiness now. Wish you and CC a world of happiness together. Congratulations for finding love.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Falling apart is something that happens to many of us at some point, you had good reason to fall apart and you have managed you pick yourself up and put yourself back together and C C is going to help you stay put together and feeling safe

    Liked by 1 person

  15. So very true Joanne — he does. Thank you!

    Like

  16. Yea! What a great now you’ve created. It’s fun to “watch” your journey to the wedding. Hope your girls can relish “what is” happening now.

    Like

    • Last night, Alexis and I sat on the deck of the guesthouse where we’re staying, sipped bubbly and chatted and watched the sun go down over the hills surrounding the lake. It was beautiful and very, very in the ‘now’. 🙂 Thanks Leigh!

      Like

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