Amongst all the voices in my head that clamored to be heard, the one I searched for could not be. That of my own heart. And then one day I heard it and it was frightening for it heralded me away from all that I held precious and away from the safety of home. It was time. After 25 years of loving and mothering I knew I had to leave my family, my sons, to walk a path new and unfamiliar.
The moment of letting go is terrifying- akin to jumping off a cliff. Holding on represents safety, but also death of the spirit. Yet we choose this because we were born on that side of the cliff and know no other. Past generations have lived there, breathed, yearned and died there. I had good reasons to stay too. Could I really not be there when small knees needed to be bandaged, little hurts soothed away, and tumultuous steps into adolescence taken? I wanted to be there for the first crush, failures and successes big and small, the first ideological dispute, the first heartbreak. I did and it was a joy. But now letting go of those loved hands had become inevitable. I was to take that terrifying leap finally.
I tried to explain as best as I could but no words could express a lifetime of waiting. Even when we know those we love are unhappy, we assume that they will just continue to tolerate it one way or another. My sons expected that too. My leaving was a rejection, abandonment. Maybe it was, in a way, but surely the years given lovingly were more important? But now their adult eyes looked at me with confused, cautious, accusation. Who was this stranger they wondered, this mother who wanted MORE out of life? I felt them drift away to a painful distance. And the unspoken resentments and feelings squeezed chilly fingers around my heart so tightly that my tears froze.
I miss them every day. Surely there will be a time when they reach out- they reach out to me this time? And in the meanwhile, as I live, with the quiet lapping gently about me and the image of myself becoming clearer in my mirror, I know I could not have jumped the cliff any earlier. But also not any later. Life had called.My Story: Holding Hands