A few days ago marked the 3rd anniversary of my mother’s passing from this life. I saw it coming with some trepidation, to no avail, because it ended up being an amazing day. The sun was shining all day, like a happy song. My heart felt light and bubbly. My feet barely touched the ground when I walked. Everything I did that day was effortless – traffic was minimal, parking was a breeze, all my heavily scheduled activities went smoothly, without a hitch. I couldn’t stop smiling – one of those lusciously inviting days that you hope never ends.
As I think back on the sense of loss I felt when my mother passed away, I see that my suffering was about my clinging to my past definition of her love. I wanted it to remain embodied in a physical form – a certain look , a certain touch, smell, sound – all those things that fill our physical senses.
I began closing my heart — not on purpose and not even consciously, but reactively. I couldn’t fathom the drastic change in my reality of her physical presence being gone. So my heart folded inward and withered like a flower that has forgotten how to bloom.
Over the last 3 years, when I’ve allowed myself to open to her essence, it is only love that I feel . . .flowing from her to me. But it has also been painful – I was still in that space of separation and condition. But this week, for some unbeknownst reason, a light bulb went on, and I’m seeing things more clearly. I see that when we “lose” someone we love, there is no pain or suffering, if we can keep loving. Seems like I’ve held this precious golden grain of truth in my mind for many years, waiting for it to take root in my heart. To give my love unconditionally (that trite but true phrase) would, I knew with certainty, end my suffering. Instead of pining away for someone’s love, why not love without expectation? In theory, it sounds profoundly healing and restorative — but I couldn’t take that leap. I seemed to be stuck in that space of sadness and self-pity.
I think of the men I’ve loved who couldn’t or wouldn’t reciprocate that love to me. The list is not long, but it’s intense. At the top of the list is my father. I’m learning that the pain comes from me staying in a space of need – needing my mother to be physically present — needing my father to recognize my worth, and love me for it. It’s all backwards. Love is not about worthiness or need. It’s about love. No matter what.
So now, as I open my heart to give love, everything’s becoming easier. I’m not waiting to be loved back. I’m not pining away for someone to love me. I don’t feel like I’ve lost my mother. I’m not an orphan any more.