Love is a Living Thing
By Bernadette A. Moyer
Love is a living thing, and in being so love can and does die too. We were driving away and my heart was broken. I could see her in the rear view mirror, holding court with her friends, smoking a cigarette and wearing the little Ann Taylor dress and Coach Purse I had purchased for her. She was just shy of her 18th birthday. Little did I know that our relationship had ended.
Someone who was a friend at that time said, “The heart that you had for her is gone and maybe one day you will be able to grow a new one.” I couldn’t believe he said that! I couldn’t imagine that ever being true. She was my daughter and my job was to love her and to love her forever.
Throughout the years my husband would say, “One day she will be gone longer than you had her.” It is getting really close to that time now. When we haven’t seen someone in 17 years it becomes virtually impossible to keep the love alive. Regardless who that person is because love is a living thing and it needs certain elements to stay alive.
There was a time when I fought so desperately to keep the love alive. She was used to people leaving her through death and through choice and I was going to love her beyond all that. I was going to be there even if she wasn’t. In retrospect she killed my love for her. She made sure that it died. No one could really come back from the things that she did and the things that she said. No one could come back with a loving heart.
Another friend and colleague would tell me, “You must save yourself.” It was more than a decade of estrangement at that time. Yet again it seemed so odd to me. He had a daughter and he loved her. He beamed when he spoke of her and all her many accomplishments and yet I was supposed to forgo my child and “save myself.”
Whatever transpired later in life could never take away from all the many years that we shared. I loved her and cared for her. I have those memories and a zillion and one plus photos, event invites and writings in her own handwriting and for all that I am eternally thankful.
The last battle did me in with her. She may as well have thrown gasoline on me and lit a match. It was when it became crystal clear to me the depth and the degree of her hatred toward me. I still can’t imagine not seeing someone, anyone for 15 years and still carrying such hatred in your heart. I mean for your own sake and wellness, let it go. But that last time was what it took for me to see her so clearly and to lose any remaining love I may have had or any hope of ever repairing our relationship.
Today I feel good again, really good and I am at peace. I have no love left for her and where it doesn’t make me sad, I question how any mother would and could feel that way toward their child. Yet I do. I can say it out loud I can say it to God and I can share it with my family, I have nothing left for her, nothing.
I wish her all the best, I wish her the biggest and the brightest life and yet I want nothing to do with her, not now and not ever. It is the most loving act of all, pure total surrender. No one is more surprised than me. How did this happen? Well it didn’t happen overnight it took years and years. I grieved for a full ten plus years, I shed more tears than I could have ever imagined. I was so hurt and so blind-sided, I never saw it coming. I was shocked.
When that very first year went by I asked a friend to try and find out how she was doing and what was going on with her. I couldn’t imagine that not one time in that first year did she ever miss me or reach out for me. It would be another devastating blow to learn that in that first year she was pregnant and had her son. I didn’t even know. I would learn that she had a child when he was already 5-months old. Yet another act that would disclose for me how cut off she was from me.
Then several more years would pass when a long-term friend of 30 years would direct me to our local court house. She for whatever reason was looking my child up there. It was there I would learn my grandson’s name and his birthdate and who his father was and it was there that I would learn of who was raising him. Another deep cut and blow another hurt that I would have to work my way back from.
Today I am on the strong and healed side. I am as over it as any mother could be, every day I support parents in their grief of losing their children through estrangement. I can tell exactly where they are in the process by what they are feeling and expressing. For the most part their hearts are still open although somewhat shattered. I can tell by their rawness how new the cut off from their beloved child is and was and how they are managing their grief.
For all of them I hope and pray for a resolution before love dies. Because love can and will die if it isn’t properly nurtured. I see so much clearer today. Love truly is blind. When we love our children so absolutely we often refuse to see or are too close to see or are in denial about our children. Being away from my child had allowed me to see things much more clearly.
I took on so much responsibility for her; I allowed myself to be the target and scapegoat and was so easily manipulated. I being her target wasn’t helping her. Blaming others is the surest way to fall short on our own lives. When we blame others we fail to accept responsibility. Pointing our fingers out and making others look bad takes the focus off us.
Or does it? Maybe in the short run but sooner or later who we are and what we are will surface. We can only hide so long. We can only blame so long before we have to accept responsibility for our lives and for all of our decisions.
You know it is over when the love is gone and so are the anger and the sadness and the hurt and disappointment. What you are left with is peace and with understanding and a desire to help all those others who are suffering like you were. Nothing lasts forever, nothing.
Love is a living thing, and love can and will die when we don’t cherish it and nurture it and appreciate it.
Bernadette on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer