Eighteen Christmas Seasons
By Bernadette A. Moyer
You don’t get over it you get through it … it starts with just breathing. You learn to breathe again when you have been knocked over and kicked in the gut by an adult child that grows up and decides that the life you afforded them and gave them didn’t and doesn’t measure up. They decide alone that you are unworthy.
This Christmas will be my eighteenth Christmas without my daughter, a daughter who is now gone longer than when I had her. This was a daughter who initially shattered my heart and my soul. And a daughter who re-created her past so that she could have a new and different life. Initially I couldn’t believe it or accept it, and I now so freely do.
Not only do I accept it but I appreciate the gift and what it was; a blessing in disguise. I am no longer tethered to a past. A past life that was filled with hurt with loss and with abuse. I am free. Yet there was a time when I thought I couldn’t live without her. I learned that I can live and that I will live and that I can be happy and healthy and whole again.
I gave her everything I had to give. I gave her more of a life and a better life than what my parents ever afforded me. And in the end I appreciated my parents more. There is a lesson here for parents that just give and give.
More and more people are writing to me and contacting me about my writings and about my then teenage daughter who at age eighteen decided to estrange, and their biggest question is, “How did you do it? How did you survive it?”
There is no cure; you take one minute at a time, one day at a time and one month and one year at a time. You work through it, through the heartache and through the disappointment. You work through the grief and through the loss. You purge your pain. Then one day they are gone longer than you had them in your life.
What you are left with is your memories and for me I have wonderful memories of a beautiful little girl who was bright and beautiful and the absolute love and joy of my life. I have no regrets. I played the hand that I was dealt and I did the best I could with what I had and what I knew at that time. Today my heart and my soul are at peace.
She chose her life and I have mine. I am able to look at my friends and my peers who now have adult children and many are married and having children of their own. I absolutely love seeing those healthy loving and growing parent-child relationships.
I am not soured as I am truly happy for them. I look on with love and a happy heart. I know that, that was not to be for me and it wasn’t going to be my lot in life. I have not only learned to accept it but to move past it.
People tell me things about her and I have been sent photos of her and I don’t bite. I am not interested in anything related to her and yet there was a date and a time when I was desperate to know anything at all about her. Today I think and believe that if she wanted me to know about her life, she would not have estranged and gone out of her way to make sure that I am not included. I know my place. I got the memo and I heard her loud and clear.
There is life after our children. I do not believe that my marriage would be as happy as it is with the continued drama that was represented in that relationship. She has declared it unhealthy and today I agree. Because of all the loss that she experienced as a small child I took it on that it was my job to fill those voids and in reality it was not. I was there. I was there 100% if not more. I tried my hardest and I did my best.
The decision to estrange was solely her decision, I have learned to live with that decision and she too will have to live with her choices.
Factually speaking she may be my daughter but the reality is that she has not been a daughter to me for eighteen years now. You can’t miss what you don’t have. I don’t miss her at all anymore. I have created a very full and very happy and a very loving life. This past year was one of the happiest years of my life! I had pure joy and much love.
“If God takes you to it, He will take you through it.”
My new books Along The Way and Another Way have many articles, blogs and essays about my journey. It has been an amazing journey and just like any journey there is a beginning and middle and an ending. When it is over, it is over.
I was married for more than 15 years before I legally changed my name, in part because when I was getting married she said, “then I will be the only Moyer left” her dad died when she was just two. I was always trying to fix things and make things better for her.
As this year 2015 ends, I will begin the new year writing under my married name Sahm, Bernadette A. Sahm. Bernadette A. Moyer has many writings that have addressed love, loss, death and estrangement.
The new writings will be about love, happiness and beauty and hopefully even more inspiring and healthy. I have purged my pain, I have written much and I have helped many.
My greatest hope in sharing my experiences and my life story is that anyone that is experiencing this kind of loss, please know that you are not alone, others have survived it and you will too!
I am not saying it is or was easy but what I am sharing is that it is possible … you can be happy again and you can be happy after losing a child to estrangement.
The page has turned … and life is good and beautiful and happy again …
Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer are available on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble
4 thoughts on “Eighteen Christmas Seasons”
Your story and strength gives me even more strength. I agree so much with you and only by living in your shoes, as well. My story, and my feelings are so close to yours, except it hasn’t been 18 years. It has been a real and long 10 years though, which I thought would never get to 5 years. I get it now!!!! I too got the ‘memo loud and clear”…Lol.
Thanks for sharing your story.
I just stumbled upon your blog, glad I did!
Thanks again and Happy New Year,
Thanks for connecting Angie! We are not alone and I find myself in good company with many other wonderful mothers like you! Happy New Year! May 2016 be your best year ever … XOXO Bernadette
Thank you! Have a most wonderful holiday season! Blessings!