I'm house-sitting for friends for three weeks, taking care of their dog. It's a vacation in the city, a time away, a quiet time, a restorative time, a time for me. My daughters are at home with our two puppies -- Ellie, the wonderful Golden Retriever who journeyed through the relationship with the man who came on as Prince Charming and was revealed to be The Prince of Darkness four years ago today. And Mollie, a girlfriend's Bichon Friese who came to live with us for a short time two years ago and has never gone home.
Talk about going to the dogs!
This little vacation in the city is an opportunity for me to prepare for a presentation I have to give this weekend about my book (The Dandelion Spirit) and a chance for my daughters to stretch their wings of independence without me hoovering beneath them, trying to protect them from falling (while in actual fact, when I constantly try to catch them I'm inhibiting their flight!).
It's four years today! My eldest daughter called me earlier to say, "Congratulations Mom. Four years of new life! Well done."
It is four years today since the miracle of a blue and white police car rolled up and took away the man who promised to love me 'til death do us part -- and took the death part way too seriously.
Four years of stretching and healing and growing and learning. Four years of claiming my beautiful life, of stepping onto centre stage of my very own existence without fear that I am not enough to stand in the spotlight of myself.
Four awesome years of claiming all that I'm meant to be. Of sharing my joy, my passion, my fearless commitment to living live with no holds barred.
In my daughter's call I felt the wonder and the awesome joy of knowing that in these four years we have healed and grown closer together.
I am in awe of my daughters. I gave them birth and because of them I am alive today. While I was with the abuser, there was a time when I desperately wanted to end my own life. And yet, there was one truth I held onto that prevented me from taking the step that would have changed their lives irrevocably. That truth is a sacred trust I embraced from the moment of their conception and it is the truth I desperately clung to for fear I would drown beneath the terror and sorrow of what had become my life while I was with the abuser. That truth was and is, I love them.
In giving into the abuser I gave up on me. I let go of my truth, my sense of self and gave into his lies. But I could never give up on the truth that I love my daughters. To take my own life would have meant aborting that truth with the lie of my death.
And I could not, would not do that.
In healing, my love of my daughters is what carried me through those first days and weeks and months of sorting through the devastation of my life and trying to find meaning in my journey away from abuse into my life today. In loving them I knew I had to heal, to accept the present exactly the way it was without shirking from the truth of what had happened, while being willing to accept my power to stand in today without fear or shame holding me back from becoming all that I am meant to be. It is my love of my daughters that gave me the courage to face myself in the mirror every morning and forgive myself. I was accountable for what I'd done to hurt them -- I could not change the past, but I could see it in a different light so that I could stand in the beauty of today without fear of the past becoming my future and theirs.
It is because of my daughters that I knew that to heal I had to treat myself with tender loving care every step of my journey so that I could help them heal and grow and learn and prosper.
So, when I awoke this morning and got the call from my daughter congratulating me on four years of healing, I cried.
What an awesome gift. To have fallen so hard on the road of life and to have been given the opportunity to heal with those I love by my side. I am blessed.
Not just my daughters have travelled with me on this journey. My family and friends have also been there for me. They've reached out, given me a hand, a shoulder to lean on, an arm to support me when I've been too weary or frightened to step alone. They've helped me grow and through their love and kindness I have been rewarded with the ever-lasting gift of friendship and a chance to reclaim myself and to build a new life.
Today, my life is more than I could have imagined even before Prince Charming rode up and swept me off my feet. Today, I walk with my feet firmly planted on the ground and my mind open to the limitless possibilities of my life in freedom. As long as I stay committed to my own true self and walk without fear of stepping into someone else's make-believe, the past will never be my future and today will always be a journey in love.
Today I know that there is no greater gift I give myself than to be open to the magnificence of my human state and to share myself lovingly and willingly with the world around me. With grace, ease and dignity I journey through each moment confident in the truth that the world is a reflection of who I am. When I am magnificent, the world is a magnificent place to be!
Thank you to everyone who has made this journey a never-ending story of love, peace and joy. Thank you for your vitality, creativity and constant supply of support, kindness and caring.
May we continue to journey together reflecting back the magnificence that illuminates our souls when we share our light and joy. May our paths be lit up by the magnificent human beings we are when we are free to be all that we are in love.