It’s funny to me that my heart feels like the bag of shredded mail and paper I have beside me right now. I shred all the mail with any address information that comes into our house and I recycle all the shredded paper, along with envelopes, magazines and junk. Junk… estrangement and alienation are just that. No one should be comfortable with shredding another person’s heart, and it says a lot about someone that cares so little for others. I’m not a piece of paper that someone can put in a household shredder and forget about. I am a person that loves deeply, hurts beyond belief and deserves answers. Answers to the questions I have stopped asking because I know those answers will never come. Hell, if they ever do, the answers will more than likely be lies, and I’m sick of the lies as well as the silence, so maybe it’s best if I just keep moving forward and stop looking for answers.
Earlier tonight I watered our lawn as we are gripped by excessive heat right now and the watering triggered the thought that if something is worth having, it’s worth taking care of. I hate spending the extra money on our water bill, but until the county declares a ban on watering because of drought, I will continue to water the lawn. I need to take care of it. Just like I needed to take care of the daughter that threw me and her dad away. We cared for her, we watered her and we watched her grow. We were so happy to be blessed with a little girl for our first child and we never imagined that we would be accused of terrible and heinous things when she grew tired of us. We nurtured her like we try and nurture our lawn, but it was all a waste of time. Just like I believe the grass will not survive the next five days of extreme temperatures, we didn’t survive the extremes of parenthood, though we sure did try. We miss our daughter, but we have to stop watering that which refuses to continue to grow.
As parents who have been alienated, we have had to learn a whole new way of caring for not only ourselves, but for the grandchildren caught in the crossfire. Here is where the idea of caring for something worth having takes its’ toll. We are like millions of other grandparents around the world. We love our grandchildren more than we ever thought we could love anyone, and when that love is denied, it’s just so mean to the kids. The children have no voice in any of this mess and it’s beyond impossible to figure out how someone who is supposed to love them thinks that it’s okay to deny them love. What has happened to the family structure here in America and around the world? Why is it so acceptable to claim your parents were abusive and neglectful just so you can walk away without looking back? Where is the forgiveness? Where is the proof of such actions? Where is the caring about someone other than yourself? Taking care of something and someone isn’t easy, but if they or it are worth having don’t you find a way? Don’t you find a way to water that grass through the dry periods in hopes that it will survive? I know for me that I will never give up on nurturing the love for my grandchildren, it’s just not like me to turn off that hose.
As the summer bears down on us here in the southeast, we have to be aware of how fragile we become once we are exposed to the damaging effects of the sun. It’s the same once you become a victim of alienation and estrangement. You get burned. It’s that simple. Once you’ve been burned, you either take protective measures against further damage, or you don’t. When I’m out in the sun, I stay as hydrated as possible. I wear sunscreen. I seek shade. Now that I’ve been burned by estrangement, I guard my heart from further abuse. I write this blog as a way to process the pain and anguish that I live with every day. I stand fast in the knowledge that I know I wasn’t a perfect mom, but I sure as hell tried to be the best mom I could be. When you’re told by your adult child that you were never good enough, whether by word or actions, or both, you die inside. It’s like the sun destroying my lawn, it happens a little more every day. Though I still feel like I die a little every day, I also feel stronger and more positive for the future. That damn sun won’t win every summer, not even every week, though while the heat is so intense it seems hopeless to think anything could grow.
I can honestly tell you that my husband and I have grown through this estrangement and we are like the roots of the thirsty trees seeking water at this current moment. We have learned to be patient and wait on the rain, but in the interim we take care of ourselves as best we can. We love each other, we love our children and grandchildren and we love our family and friends. Love is the nutrient needed to keep us going, even without that love being received or returned by the child that tossed us aside. Without love life is not worth the effort, so like those tree roots seeking water, our hearts will seek love. Love can burn your heart as the sun burns our grass, but I’ll suffer heart burn any day knowing that it does eventually ease.
Growth is hard. Being shredded is hard. Being thrown away is not necessary. Remember, if something is worth having, take care of it. Take care of yourself through the droughts your heart will experience because of estrangement and alienation. If you are anything like me, you didn’t ask to be shredded, burned or forgotten, so remember that you matter. I matter. The people we love deserve the best of us, and even if the best you have to give is a little water to those who love you, a little water can go a long way. Stay cool, be calm and look ahead, the heatwave will end and things will be greener again.