For many of us facing estrangement and alienation, fear plays a huge part in who we become. It plays a huge role in how we think others will perceive us once the “secret” gets out. Fear can make us question everything we have ever known to be true about being parents and grandparents. Fear, if we allow it to run away with us, can quite easily become a constant companion. The only constant companion I can allow to be that close to me is my dog, Morgan. I frequently have called him CC over the years because he is my constant companion, and I don’t have room in my life for something as unnecessary as fear. I never knew just how much fear could affect me until I was thrown away by my adult daughter, and I admit fear lingers in the background of my life like a shadow. I don’t always see it, but I can tell you it’s always waiting behind a door, on the other side of the room or in the deepest recesses of my mind. Fear is always looking for a way in, and sometimes it flings the door open so hard I find myself startled by its presence.
The further away from the actual day of the estrangement I get, the less fear tries to bully its way in. That’s only because I am learning what signs to look for, I’m learning to stand strong in the face of my fear, and I’m learning how to forgive myself for letting it win from time to time. I’m human, which means I am flawed from birth, but it also means that I can find a way to give myself grace. Fear is an irrational response to the unknown and there is no way that any loving parent anywhere on earth would ever imagine that their own heart would betray them by throwing them away. Our estranged child(ren) are our hearts and we loved them. We nurtured them and we wanted the best for them. Always. Once estranged, fear becomes like that child, pushing and pulling, trying to exert its independence, and fear wants to have the ultimate control. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but my estranged daughter has always done this. She’s like the fear itself, always lingering in the deepest recesses of my mind. I know that control means everything to her, and her behavior portrays just how much like fear she is. Irrational. Insidious. Without thought.
I am not afraid of this estrangement any longer. I have come to a place in my heart and mind where I am able to push back against the fear of the unknowns and move forward. I take baby steps because sometimes it’s the best I can do, and you know what? That’s okay. It’s all part of giving myself the grace to fall, and the grace to get back up again. I am not afraid of losing in life, losses are necessary for continued growth. I am not afraid hurting, because hurt brings healing, and healing brings strength. I am not afraid to feel angry, anger can be very cleansing if we let it. Anger can become debilitating if we fail to manage it, but that type of anger, of rage, I have learned is a direct response to fear. And fear, like I said is NOT my constant companion.
I hope that this makes sense to you, the reader. I felt like sharing about fear was what I was supposed to do today, and it is my sincere hope that someone out there knows that they’re not going crazy because they are afraid. Estrangement and alienation aren’t classes we take in school. They’re not things commonly discussed at the dinner table. Estrangement and alienation are elements of abuse and cruelty, abuse against us as parents and grandparents. Abuse against the multitudes of grandchildren that no doubt feel abandoned by the grandparents that they are so cruelly kept from. Fear rears its ugly head for most of us right here. We wonder; What are our grandchildren being told about why we’re all of a sudden missing? Are our estranged sons and daughters lying to our grandchildren? Blaming us? Of course they are. It’s so much easier to make the thrown away people the cause of estrangement. I believe the adult children that throw their parents away know exactly how wrong it is, but I also believe they are unwilling to face themselves. Fear, along with pride, are standing in the way of familial reconciliations around the world, but the children are the true victims. I’ll be the first to admit I made many mistakes along the road of raising two daughters, the biggest being that I didn’t teach the oldest the true importance of self forgiveness. Fear and pride are her constant companions now, and because of this, we all lose.