Yesterday was a day filled with adventure and excitement. I called one of my closest friends, Sheila. I chose her and not Emily, Sharon, Gail, or Cherye because her brother is a psychoanalyst. When we spoke, I told her I felt like a person who suffered from PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. I was crying.
“Why do you feel as you do? Because of your kids?”
“Yes,” I replied.
Needless to say, she was shocked when I mentioned I feel like a person who suffers from PTSD, but so was I. The thought entered my mind because it hit me how long I have tried to understand and cope with the estrangement from my family. It has been 7 years and the loss has been emotionally exhausting and even strangling. I am worn out from sadness. It is beyond difficult to believe this is happening.
“I tell Shelly every day how sad I feel. That I have become forgetful. This morning, I forgot to go to my manicure and I thought we had theater tickets for the theatre last night when they are for next week. I know this is not dementia. It is exhaustion from years of stress.”
Continuing, I say, “I am not allowed to know my great-granddaughter. I know I do not deserve this. Feelings of sadness, loss, bewilderment, and despair consume me. I want help. Please call your brother and ask him if he knows anyone who deals in this area of this type of loss who can help me. I don’t know anyone.”
You may also enjoy reading, How to Regain Your Natural Enthusiasm.
CLIMBING THE FIRST STEP
Then, my friend replied, “I am having dinner with my brother tonight. It is his birthday. I will call you in the morning with a name. I love you like a sister after knowing you for 32 years. This is not about you. And I know the players. I am older than you and I will venture to say they will be very sorry one day. You know the saying: Monkey see. Monkey do.” Need I say more?
I got off the phone and was glad I took positive action. I want to try my best to climb the stairs out of my sad and heart-wrenching dilemma.
“The inner resonance of forgiveness rings deeply within. Forgiveness is a virtue. It provides a person with a grand reward. To forgive another is profound relief and spiritual joy. It is a gift you reward to yourself. Ironically, the curse of estrangement led me to value the virtue of forgiveness to all.” — Honey Good
Adult children who are estranged from their parents is an epidemic. If you are an estranged parent I understand you are experiencing severe emotional loss. What I want you to know is that you are not alone. I have studied the statics and it is mind-boggling. And most of you, like myself, don’t know or understand the reason behind the estrangement.
I am glad I am a woman who is open; who shows her vulnerability. So many women hide behind an invisible mask. They pretend that all is well. Nobody has it all, darling. Nobody. My suggestion is to stop hiding. Be the you in you. Everyone has situations. It is a fact of life.
Read more about my struggle with adult child and grandparent estrangement, here.
TODAY IS ANOTHER DAY
I am feeling better today. When l tell you this, I mean it. Every day of my life has several bouts of joy. My joy always overpowers my sadness. It is about one’s attitude, darling.
I received a call from Sheila. She never forgets to remember. She gave me a name to call. I will follow through and I am hopeful that I can learn how to accept and live with what I cannot change. One level at a time, I will climb the stairs until I find peace.
It is a beautiful sunny day in my ‘once upon a time’ beautiful Chicago. I watch the sun rise up over a beautiful and calm Lake Michigan. I gaze at my new jade plant in my window and I smile.
Suddenly, my pooch America races into the room, jumps into my chair, and begins kissing me profusely. “OMG, I tell him, I love you so much!” I kiss him back with several kisses and hug him close to me. I have already had two bouts of joy and it is 6:00 am. Lucky me.
Ultimately, I tell myself, my cloud will lift when I resolve how to handle bouts of sadness. The estrangement of my family hangs around my neck and, let’s face it, their neck too. I have hope and now I have dreams. I now know I will have help climbing the stairs. My third bout of joy of the day.
I ASK MYSELF WHY
Furthermore, I have struggled with both of daughters at one point or another. One daughter tells me she revered me and the other told me, “You will never know how much I love you” only later to ostracize and reject me. Go figure.
They have had their disappointments. They experienced despair in their lives. Their father passed away suddenly. I remarried. Our close family became a blended family and alas changed, forever.
The past seven years have been very difficult. One daughter loves me one year and then decides not to talk to me the next year. The other daughter is gone. Birthdays, holidays, trips I will never take with them, not seeing my grandchildren mature into adults, grandchildren placed in the position of choosing sides. Grandchildren losing their grandmother, and wondering what I did wrong to create this situation, plagues me daily.
Not a day goes by that I do not think about my problem. Not a day goes by that I don’t crave their love. Not a day goes by when a small wave of sadness engulfs me. I have my cloud.
I also have love from others, a ton of resilience and I am grateful for all my blessings. Daily, I smile. I am productive and creative and appreciative.
And, fortunately, I have a devoted husband and the Good family children. I love them. It is ironic that my Ultimate Concierge’s family cares about me and that includes my sister and brother-in-law and their children — while my family has vanquished me from their lives. A loss for all.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM MY EXPERIENCE
I adopted the philosophy that that every negative experience leaves us with a positive lesson.
What I have taken away from this experience. To Forgive — always.
Next, let’s dig deeper into forgiveness. The inner resonance of forgiveness rings deeply within. Forgiveness is a virtue. It provides a person with a grand reward. To forgive another is profound relief and spiritual joy. This is a gift you reward to yourself. Ironically, the curse of estrangement led me to value the virtue of forgiveness to all.
Please darling, if you are carrying anger, release it. Release it right now as you read my story.
WHY I AM A MODERN MATRIARCH
I am a Modern Matriarch because I have acquired wisdom through a lifetime of difficulties. I have always fought with a fierceness to climb the stairs. Each problem I faced I faced with my teammate — resilience. This is one of the main reasons I earned a Ph.D. in life.
I have learned the importance of mixing hardships with the unsurmountable joys I experience daily. Joy is more important in my life than sorrow.
And, throughout all my climbs I remind myself of the importance of the virtue of humility. I am a small-town girl from Kankakee by the Sea and the town had a profoundly important influence on who I am today. Thank you, Kankakee by the Sea.
WHY I CONSIDER MYSELF ‘FIERCE’
Let’s consider why I still think of myself fierce, though I’ve been through so much. First, life has taught me that the word fierce is a marvelous and positive word. So many of us, as did I once upon a time, think it had negative connotations. Wrong. It is the sail beneath every woman’s wings. It is what gives us ‘our attitude.’ Our drive. Our successes. And our goals.
THE REASONS I CONSIDER MYSELF A FIERCE MODERN MATRIARCH
I am fierce because I…
- Love style
- Know I have faults
- Say, “I don’t know”
- Know kindness counts
- Am a visible woman
- Say, “I am sorry”
I am fierce because I…
- Am a woman over 50
- Never expect anything
- Listen to my heart
- Understand honor is my badge
- Know social media is not my brain
- Try, try, try not to procrastinate!
- My Hebrew name is Sarah
- Don’t hide behind a mask
- Believe in hope and dreams
- Honor my mother and father
- Climb the stairs, not ride the elevator
I am fierce because I…
- Am worldly
- Believe a woman’s inner beauty is her true beauty
- My priority is my husband
- Don’t envy
- See problems as grey — not black
- Know the present is a gift
- Am vulnerable
- Want to be!
- Am soulful
- Am generous
- Don’t pretend to be who I am not
- Wear red lipstick!
I am fierce because I…
- Stand against the unrighteous
- Don’t gossip but I love to listen!
- Revel in the silence of the day
- Am grateful
- Love animals
- Love nature
- Know women need women
- Was a French woman, Gizelle, in a past life!
- Am humble
- Am grateful
- Know joy
I am a modern matriarch because I am fierce!
WHY ARE YOU A FIERCE MODERN MATRIARCH?
And, you darling, why are you fierce? Did you ride a motorcycle through India? Sleep in the Sahara? Survive Cancer? Have your own survival theory? Are a visible woman after 50? Have stayed happily married for 50 + years! Remember to laugh?
Whatever your reasons and each of you have dozens I proclaim you a fierce modern matriarch after 50. Now, you have to proclaim why you are. Write your list. Amen.
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