Thursday, April 26, 2018

How I love spring and the return the songbirds and the peepers, and the lovely colors of the Redbud blooms! Soon it will be the crickets and the fireflies! I hope you are enjoying the reawakening and the wonders of spring!

Spring is clearly a time of change and growth. This year it’s a time for me to honor the change and growth of my daughters. One will be graduating from college and one from high school within the next two months. It is a time of joy, and a time of feelings of loss. It’s a challenging mix of those two emotions. My daughters are both determined and talented young women, and I couldn’t be more proud to be their mom. I’m grateful every day to be part of their lives. How I will be part of their lives will be shifting. Of course, that has shifted more than once before now. That’s simply part of life.

There’s a line in a poem that I wrote recently that puts the challenge I’m facing very concisely, “How to reconcile grief with the truth of change.” (The poem was published online here.) That’s the struggle I’m facing. Reconciling those feelings of loss with the truth of change. Just because it’s a natural part of life for children to grow and move on, doesn’t mean there isn’t grief associated with the process. Yet, I feel such joy for them as they set out on their new adventures! So I will be sitting with both the loss and the joy, hoping to find a balance.

As is the Universe’s way, it handed me something to give me cause for reflection during this process. I’ve been listening to a book called EveryNote Played by Lisa Genova. I knew nothing about it before I began it. It’s an extremely emotional book. I think it’s actually more difficult to listen to it than reading it myself would have been. It’s a book about a concert pianist who is diagnosed with ALS. It is very specific about the process his body goes through as the disease progresses. That’s not the most difficult thing though. The more emotional part for me is the regrets he and his former wife face as his disease brings them back into contact. The weight of those regrets, and the things left unforgiven are great. It’s a powerful story, but not an easy one to read.

The connection for me to the process I’m going through was the invitation to look at regrets or things undone as I’m facing this time of transition. I’m happy to say that upon reflection, I don’t have much in the way of regrets in my relationship with my daughters. There is always the desire to have spent more time together, but that desire isn’t usually matched by a teenage girl! Somehow this reflection, this lack of regrets has helped ease the feelings of loss a little. I’m finding peace through that knowing, that while I will grieve their more constant presence in my life, I have done all I can to prepare them for their future, and to live it with joy and passion. So, while the tears will come, I believe the joy will far outweigh the feelings of loss. That feels like a tremendous gift, and is one I might not have recognized yet, if ever, if I hadn’t been reading this book at the same time.

I think that’s part of living mindfully, being present with the things or people who arrive in our lives and have something to share. We might not recognize right away the power of their gift, but if we remain present and mindful it will unwrap itself.

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