coffee and quiet conversation between us,
– but in this brave new world of mine – I can only draw from what I knew to be our truth.
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
I have learned how to integrate loss – grieve, when someone you love dies. But grieving the loss of someone who is still living has proven to be more challenging and at times I’m not sure if I’m going to survive this loss of life in mine.
The first step toward healing is recognizing how troubling and painful it is when a child walks out of your life.
“Why would an adult child sever ties with his or her parents? There are different events and situations that can create conflict in families, some subtle and some more obvious, that serve as a strong undercurrent in the family dynamic—reasons like substance abuse, divorce, disagreements about boyfriends/girlfriends/spouses, and personality differences are all common struggles in the parent-child relationship. There are many different events and situations that can trigger this devastating decision. Even though it may seem unfathomable, an adult child has clear reasons in their mind why they may choose to discontinue communication with a parent. Whatever the cause may be, it’s normal to feel a deep sense of loss and to evaluate all the possible reasons where you could have gone wrong. The excruciating part for many parents is the not knowing; they are often left completely in the dark as to why their child has chosen to end the relationship. Ultimately, the child may feel that the relationship carries more hardship than benefit.”
And while it is always easiest to pin the reason on some other entity I have had to come to the sobering reality that what was broken and perhaps just papered over prior to the death we suffered as a family has merely forced the issues to the surface.
I was completely taken aback by all of the stories of estrangement I heard – the numbers are staggering. And while it exists it is rarely spoken about because of the shame and embarrassment, the pain that is associated with this incredible loss.
It was important to recognize that each member of the family would have a very different perspective of what it would be like to be a part of this new normal.
Support is the key to your own mental and emotional wellness, for along time I perceived the alienation as a personal failure. The loss of my husband seemed magnified as long as I concentrated on the additional loss of life, that I have discovered I have no control to change. I can only govern myself and be accountable for my own choices and actions.
Being consistent in your efforts to reach out. It is not easy, I’ll be the first to admit. It is a painful rejection but the message you hope will be heard one day is simply, “I Love you, and when you are ready, I’m here”
Be prepared to own your mistakes in the breakdown of the relationship!!! Your grown child has made a decision to exit your life – there is disappointment and hurt behind that decision. It is so important to be prepared to listen with an open heart and not only understand the experiences but to own some of the instances where you may have been in the wrong.
Bringing resistance will only deepen the chasm and truthfully there should never be a right-vs-wrong, when it comes to your child, young and old …
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, wisdom to know the difference