Monday, October 29, 2007

Ending with love and forgiveness

I am always amazed when I awaken and sit down to write this that words actually do appear on the screen! It really is a miracle some mornings as my mind feels as if it doesn't contain a single thought worth sharing -- that's the thing about trusting in the process. As long as I sit down to do this, the words will appear. If I don't, they won't.

Like love. When I turn up, love appears. When I don't, it can't -- doesn't mean it isn't there, love is always there. It just means that when I'm busy protecting myself, holding myself back, looking elsewhere, I'm not available to feel its power to move me, shift me and expand my world.

Yesterday, my eldest sister called to tell me about her visit with my two nieces last week. We haven't had a great deal of contact since my brother and his wife died in an accident nine years ago. In fact, my eldest niece has had no contact with our family at all, and my younger niece, who just turned 29, has visited once. For the longest time we didn't even know where they were as they terminated all contact with both sides of their parents' families.

Very sad. They were just 17 and 18 when their parents died. Under normal circumstances, that would be a devastating event, in the case of my brother and sister-in-law, there were other factors involved that weighed heavily on my nieces as they were, by law, adults, and could not be shielded from the harshness of the circumstances preceding the accident and some of the legal issues that needed to be dealt with afterwards. The trauma and pain must have been overwhelming to them.

Which brings me right back to where I need to be, standing with a forgiving heart in the love that has been always there, even when it was hidden behind my anger, confusion and fear.

I remember at the time of the accident, my mother was overwhelmed with grief. We all were. Unfortunately, my mother has never been adept at handling reality, and the passing of her only son, so shortly after her husband of fifty-two years had died was debilitating. My two sisters and I were hard pressed to focus on my nieces given our concern for my mother's health. Add into the mix my sister-in-law's family's behaviour and all the other drama that was going on around the time of the accident, there was little energy left to focus on my nieces.

And that is where I need to forgive myself.

I wasn't there for them. In focusing on my mother, in letting her needs override the needs of these young women, I didn't do anything at the time to help them. I didn't turn up for them to help soothe their fears and tears, to be there as a pillar of loving, calm strength.

I know that was not intentional on my part, nor on the part of my sisters, but, to my nieces, it was devastating to have to deal with the after-shock of their parents' death without the steady, calm presence of their aunts who loved them and had always been there for them.

In re-writing history, there are so many things I could have done differently. In knowing what I know now, I could have quit playing my self-defeating games like: Hiding behind judgements; Blaming; Getting them before they got me; Criticizing and condemning.

Instead, I could have turned up in love with an open heart and listened to my own words and lived by them -- At the funeral, when my eldest niece told me she did not want to talk to my mother because she believed he'd had a heart attack while driving because he'd fought with my mother and was really, really upset, I had replied, "You mother and father would only want to leave you with love. They would not want you to carry their anger, their fears. They would not want you to have anything except love, it's all we can leave behind when we leave this world." I could have held true to my belief and turned to the limitless power of love to heal broken hearts and troubled spirits.

I could have held onto the love my brother and sister-in-law left behind as their legacy.

Re-writing history, however, is futile. There is though, lots I can do today to create a loving change in our relationship. Before we can build forward I must acknowledge how I let them down. I can apologize for my behaviour back then and commit to making amends now. I can turn up in love and ask for their forgiveness.

When I know better, I do better. Back then, I was caught up in the drama of what was going on and lost focus of what was important, what was the right thing to do. There was so much more I could have done.

Back then, I believed it had all ended badly. Anything that ends badly isn't over yet. In reaching out to my nieces, in sharing her story of what happened with them, my sister has awakened me to the truth that everything is meant to end well, it's the way of the universe.

I can't change what happened to put an end to all contact with my nieces, but I can affect what happens today so that we can build a loving, caring relationship into tomorrow. I can take responsibility for what I did back then that hurt them, and help my nieces heal today by acknowledging that once upon a time, I wasn't there for them. I can be there for them today, in love.

The question is: Where do you hold onto pain and anger and ignore the love that is waiting to embrace you? Where are you stuck in believing you got a 'bad ending' and hold yourself back from finding the ending that will leave you filled with love and forgiveness?

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