The holidays are a time to spend with those you love. With Christmas fast approaching the holidays can be bittersweet for me.
I am incredibly blessed. I have two parents that consists of a father and a step mom. And a set of in laws. A beautiful sister. Plus sister in laws and brother in laws and step sisters and step brothers. Plus a husband and my own kids. And tons of aunts, uncles and cousins. It’s a full family. But a gorgeous one.
Well, I’m not gonna lie, with this size comes some level of crazy. I joke many times and say “We put the Fun in dysfunctional!” But I know I’m blessed to have so many souls who surround me. Especially during the holidays.
Five years ago I lost my mom. My real mom. The mom who gave birth to me.
But I didn’t lose her in death. I lost her emotionally.
Five years ago I had to let my mom go. I had to release her from my life. I had to halt a relationship with her.
The truth is this relationship was never healthy. My mom was an abusive parent. Throughout my childhood she physically assaulted us and emotionally manipulated us and everyone around her.
I know she is unhealthy and needs help. And for many years of my adult life, regardless of my personal health, I set out to save her. To get her to a state of ok. To help her heal.
But as the saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water…”
After many years of personal investment into her well being I had to make a decision.
This decision came down to two parts:
1) Either accept her life that she was creating and stand beside her as she self destructed and blamed everyone except herself.
2) Release her from my world.
I chose to release her.
In truth, the level of her emotional unsettle was affecting me more than anyone knows. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t eat. I sent money. I bought food. I created doctors and council appointments. I delivered her to said appointments.
Hell, I even let her move in with us after she struggled to get on her feet after a suicide attempt.
But despite all my doing, I was losing. Losing myself. Losing my marriage and losing my kids.
I was so damn set on giving her everything that she wanted that I was losing everything I wanted.
Meanwhile, she was fighting it every step of the way. Wanting more money. More time. More resources. Without ever taking personal accountability for self betterment.
One day, after several weeks of dating someone, she suddenly advised me that I didn’t need to bother helping her anymore because she had him now.
That was the day I got crystal clear on how this worked for her and that NONE of that worked for me. And never would.
I tried boundaries for awhile, but could never maintain them when it came to her. I wanted to. But somehow, whenever, she came around I was the 6 year old child wanting for her mama.
So I decide to release her. I have spent years and years working through the trauma and the pain she has caused, both from a child and then as an adult. And for the most part, I have healed.
Although sometimes the reality of my decision resurfaces.
During Christmas I know there is someone missing from my table. There is one person who regardless how she treated me, shares my DNA and is missing.
I would never change my decision. Not only did I make the decision to protect myself. I also made it to protect my marriage and my children.
No one will ever hurt neither of those things — regardless of their connection to my DNA!
And so each holiday season, I silently grieve. For the parent I have lost. For the parent I have had to release. For the parent who was never a parent at all. For the person who she will never be.
Today, I share love with all my friends who have had to make a similar decision of self preservation. I applaud you and hold you high as you stand in your decision.
I sit with you in your silent grief.
During the holiday season, there are many posts for those who have lost family members in death, but today I recognize all of you who have lost someone emotionally.
The grief is similar, but it also comes laced with a form of guilt that can be a burden.
Just please know, today and through out the holidays, you are not alone. And you are not being judged. Regardless of how or why you have made the decision you have made, know that I appreciate your struggle and am so damn proud of you.
No one can understand the choice we have made, until they need to make it. And my goal is never to validate my decisions to anyone, but instead to help others not feel alone.
So, to YOU, who have lost your parent emotionally, know you are not alone. Together, let’s share our grief.
And let’s share our love.
Thank you for sharing in my journey!