After The Hope is Gone So Often Goes The Love

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After The Hope is Gone So Often Goes The Love
By Bernadette A. Moyer

brokenhearts

One of my colleagues Renate Dundys-Marrello wrote a piece about losing hope after estrangement takes place. How it happens that by clinging onto hope we only continue to hurt ourselves. Her article chronicled the stage when we finally come to acceptance and are ready to stop hoping. For days I thought about the journey that she has walked and the one that we have shared and shared with far too many mothers and fathers.

Think about a break up? The relationship has ended and you just can’t and won’t accept it. You keep hoping for another outcome yet day after day, month after month and year after year it never happens.

Eventually you have to let go and even when it is your child, your own flesh and blood you have to accept it, that it is over and that no amount of hoping will change the outcome. And when you do and not long after you finally give up hope you will lose your ability to love that person the same way again. The heart that you once had for them has changed, maybe one day you can grow a new heart but after the hope leaves and we accept the loss our hearts are forever changed.

It happens in just about every relationship that has ended so why would we think that it wouldn’t happen to us after so much time without any relationship with our own adult child?

Sadly we will lose that loving feeling. We have learned how to live without them and they in turn have learned how to live their lives without including us. Life goes on… it’s a different life. It is a life as a parent that we never envisioned but it now belongs to us, like it or not.

I think the longer estrangement takes root the less likely for any true and meaningful relationship. It would take a miracle, an awful lot of effort, hard work and a true desire for reconciliation and determination to face all facets of it; the good, the bad and the ugly.

Love can be so fragile; it can easily be destroyed and worn away. That is why when we find love we need to cherish it and protect it. We also need to understand that we are only one side of any relationship and if the other side declares that the relationship and that we are unworthy we need to accept it. Hard as that may be at times; the letting go and letting go in love is the ultimate act of grace.

What are we longing for? I don’t believe that any parent that has raised and invested in their children is ever going to easily accept estrangement. For those of us who were present and actually did the work it just feels so wrong. Yet for many of us estrangement forces us to live in a way that we never believed could and would happen.

lovelost

Like the quote above, we don’t miss what we have already had and shared what we do miss is the future and the possibilities that will never be realized. There is nothing harder than surviving a broken heart and there is no greater loss than to have lost a child.

Tin Man by Miranda Lambert
Lyrics by songwriters Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram, Jon Randall

Hey there Mr. Tin Man
You don’t know how lucky you are
You shouldn’t spend your whole life wishin
For something bound to fall apart
Every time you’re feeling empty
Better thank your lucky stars
If you ever felt one breaking
You’d never want a heart

Hey there Mr. Tin Man
You don’t know how lucky you are
I’ve been on the road that you’re on
It didn’t get me very far
You ain’t missing nothing
‘Cause love is so damn hard
Take it from me darling
You don’t want a heart

Hey there Mr. Tin Man
I’m glad we talked this out
You can take mine if you want it
It’s in pieces now
By the way there Mr. Tin Man
If you don’t mind the scars
You give me your armor
And you can have my heart

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Post Estrangement: Changing What You Hope For by Renate Dundys-Marello

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Post Estrangement: Changing What You Hope For
by Renate Dundys-Marello

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(Every once in a while an author speaks to me in a way that I felt I could have written these words myself. This piece by Renate had that impact on me and with her permission I am reposting here on my site. Thanks Renate for sharing! – Bernadette A. Moyer)

In Renate’s words …

During the early days of estrangement you hope and dream that it had never happened. This is the denial stage when you still have the misguided notion that it is all a bad dream and you will just wake up one day and it will be back to family life as usual. That whatever they were upset about will be dealt with and you just go back to being a normal family; a family that goes through difficult times but manages to stick together and work things out. Blood is thicker than water and all those kinds of messages run through your mind as you struggle with the hardship of being shunned.

Then you get to the stage where the estrangement has been going on for long enough that you accept that it is real. Your child really has done this thing called estrangement. They have also cut ties with those members of the family that do not agree with them. You realize that this is a power struggle and they want above all else to be “right”. They drop anyone who suggests that compromise might be in order.

During this stage you start to ask all the harrowing “why” questions, that unfortunately resolve nothing. But you cling to hope. It is a desperate kind of hope.

Your hopes change to wishing for your estranging adult child to recognize the damage they are causing to the family and that they will somehow come to their senses and do what is necessary for the family to reconcile. You have these hopes that it is a “personal growth phase” they are going through and when they “grow up” they will realize how silly their behavior is. You hope that this Mother’s Day or this Christmas or this Birthday everything will be resolved. You send letters and then hope they will reply or hope they will open the door to communication.

During this stage you place all your hopes on the adult child that has estranged. You hope their hearts will soften, you hope they will care enough to make amends. You hope they will change.

And as you hope for change; and have your hopes demolished day in and day out by the continuing silence you come to realize that this hope is slowly destroying you. This hope causes you pain every morning and every evening when your hopes are once again unfulfilled. This hope keeps you stuck in wistful thinking and magical make believing. This hope takes power out of your hands and places that power into the hands of the very person(s) causing you to suffer.

This stage, I fear, was the longest and also the hardest part of the grieving journey for me. It kept me stuck in the past. It kept me repeating useless questions like:
• What made her turn out to be the kind of person who can do this?
• Why doesn’t she see that this is not the way to communicate and work things out?
• Why won’t she respond to my letters and my apologies?
• What did I do that was so horrible that deserves this kind of punishment?

Until finally I woke up one day and realized I was losing myself in useless hope. I was giving up my own power by placing all the hope for healing into the hands of the very person who caused the wound in the first place.

That was when I realized I had to change the direction of my hopefulness.

Instead of placing my hope outside myself and giving power to the estranger, I had to place hopefulness on my own shoulders and upon the actions I could take to regain peace in my life.

To live means to hope, but the hope needs to be about what I need and what I want to have a better life. That meant I had to become hopeful that I could and would survive this traumatic event. I had to build and then believe in the hope that regardless what my estranging daughter did or did not do I could create a meaningful life.

• I started to hope that I could heal
• I started to hope that I could create a different life than I expected but a good one none the less
• I started to hope that I could find joy and happiness again
• I started to hope that I could live an exciting and enthusiastic life even though…..
• I started to hope for new and rewarding friendships
• I started to hope that a future without what I had expected can still be good.

And as I started to place my hopes in what I could do for myself, I was able to start the long journey toward healing, toward reclaiming the right of every human, a full and rewarding life here and now in the present.

Hope placed in my abilities to change and transform was essential for me to recognize that just because the life that I dreamed of did not turn out, I still had dreams to pursue and challenges to be met and living to do.

And best of all, I started to realize that I deserved this!

Because I am worth it!

Renate Dundys Marrello
2014 – 04 – 19

Google Renate and read many more of her blogs and writings! or http://lifeisajourneyreflections.blogspot.ca/

Photo credits – as marked or unknown

New Zealand

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New Zealand
By Bernadette A. Moyer

New Zealand, 2006

We never know. We never know when we write who our words will touch. As a writer who writes about life and takes the advice of many famous writers when they state “write about what you know” and I do. Recently I read another bloggers article that touched me deeply; I felt that I could have written every single word myself. Not only did I feel this way but my son and another friend thought it was me too. Thanks Renata! Well said! We are connected because we share a life experience, we are connected because we are mothers, we are connected because we have adult children that have estranged.

A few weeks ago I received a message from a reader who lives in New Zealand and this is what she shared with me; “You’ve become like a spokesperson, an advocate, a voice for us – all over the planet. Just knowing that someone else a mother, a friend, has experienced similar and can articulate those feelings so well … I’ve appreciated very much your openness and honesty …”

We chatted more about the weather and the time difference from where I reside in the United States and where she lives in New Zealand. Our exchange left an impression how nice to be “appreciated” and so great to feel the human connection from so far away.

Given the choice I would never have estrangement in my life but sadly it is a big part of my life story and I am thankful that any good can come from it. We never know when we open up and share just where our connections will take us!

Thanks New Zealand for reading me and for writing to me … you matter to me …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

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Managing Expectations

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Managing Expectations
By Bernadette A. Moyer

expectations

Whether it is business or personal we have expectations on how things should go and how they should be handled. Often our expectations do not match up to what we experience. Then we are left with what to do? How to handle it?

I have high standards both professionally and personally and many times I have been disappointed.

Over the weekend we visited our insurance provided automotive center for repairs and/or estimate of our vehicle. It was hit from behind in an accident. It turns out that the vehicle had to be totaled. When we arrived in the office no one was at the front desk. We could hear people that worked there, we could hear them arguing and we heard one of them drop the “f” bomb. This is a place of business. They were loud and unprofessional.

When our adjuster returned with our paperwork in hand, he started talking to another customer who arrived after us. It seemed rude to me and it delayed our business transaction. From the very beginning our expectations were not met. We were told to track the progress by using a website and our claim number. This was the same site we used to schedule the appointment with the adjuster. We were also told that if the car was “totaled” we could receive our check that same day.

The website was never updated even after the car was in their possession for 5 days. There was no way we would receive a check “that same day.” Several times my husband called to inquire and the adjuster always responded with “I will call you back.” He never did. We would go through a weekend and total of 5 days before we received the adjuster’s findings.

When in business and you state how the system should work and then it doesn’t, you can’t act surprised when the consumer is not happy. Of course they send me the “how did we do” internet survey and all I could do was communicate our experience.

expectations1

Last month a friend referred a pool guy so I contacted him. His estimate wasn’t any less than the larger company that we were intending on using but we figured the referral would help insure that we would be taken care of. The owner never met us as we sent photos of the job through text messages and he arrived at a price and sent an e-mail. We agreed to the work and scheduled it.

The day before I was surprised that he said he was sending one of his guys and that it should be about an hour or 90 minutes. Again I was expecting to meet the owner and the guy I was referred to and so I was slightly disappointed. The guy he sent was here for hours and seemed to be wrestling with the job. I was never comfortable spending so much money over a thousand dollars before the pool opened and we could be sure it was working properly.

Well less than three weeks later another area of the pool filtration system is leaking and leaking heavily. It wasn’t doing this when we closed the pool. When I expressed my concern and my upset the owner response “we didn’t break it and I honored the quote even when my guy was there longer than the hour or so” Wow! I never accused him of “breaking” it but did state that it was working when it was closed. And the amount of time was never an issue until I originally asked how long it would take?

So in both stories, what happened? We had as set of expectations and they were not met, it didn’t go like we thought it should go. Then I say to myself? It will never be okay with me to go to a business and wait in an office and hear someone working there curse and use the “f” word. And if you are in business don’t say things about how it will be handled and then not deliver.

Now about the pool guy again my expectations were not met as I would never receive a referral from a friend in any business that I was in and not meet the customer myself. I just wouldn’t and it would not matter the size or dollar amount of the job.

All relationships are like that where we have to manage our expectations. A friend was telling me about a recent break up and as I was listening to her all I could think was that she had a certain amount of expectations that were not being met. Things didn’t go the way that she thought that they would and should go. She is a high achiever and big giver and extends herself a lot.

I think when you have high standards and when you give a lot and extend yourself a lot it is easy to be disappointed. It falls back to “that is not how I would have done it or handled it.”

So what should the pool guy have said? How about I am sorry you have a leak and let me take a look at it and see what it will require to fix it. Instead he was defensive and escalated the upset instead of diffusing it.

The longer you live the more you realize that lowering expectations is what you do for yourself to keep yourself happy. Whether it is a business or personal relationship we all have a certain degree of expectations. In business I always revert to “you vote with your dollar” we all work hard for our money and if a job isn’t being done the way that we think it should be then we can go elsewhere.

I had to go to our credit union recently and the girl who handled our business had to do several tasks for us. They all required paperwork from the credit union and she handled it well. I made sure I got her name and I ended our transactions by stating “I appreciate you.” In a world where customer service is on the decline I do my best to acknowledge people that do a good job.

You don’t experience 25 years with a partner in marriage without learning to manage your expectations. Sometimes they will be met sometimes they will be exceeded and yes there are times when they will fall short. Every once in a while I allow myself the opportunity to vent and blow a fuse on the things that I am not happy about. I think it is healthy. How could another person know how we think and feel about things unless we can share them? That means we have to be willing to take the good with the bad.

There are always deal breakers though when it is not just about managing our expectations but comes down to what we are willing to accept and what we are not willing to accept …

It is always nice when our expectations are met and even nicer when they are exceeded but sadly often our expectations will come up short. Managing our expectations goes a long way to maintaining our happiness …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

The Teller of the Story

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The Teller of the Story
By Bernadette A. Moyer

STORYTELLERS_Jones_Week1.001

All writers are tellers of stories. Recently a friend shared her “immigrant book” where she writes and tells about family stories that originated in Italy. Her family history and roots are important to her and she writes about them and wants to share them.

Miranda Lambert has a new song called “The Keeper of the Flame” the lyrics;

I’m the keeper of the flame
The teller of the story
Keeper of the flame
For the ones that came before me

I think that is all that we have and can truly value; our stories. I also think that is why relationships that are broken are so hard to accept because we want to share our story and we want to keep the flame going.

In 1998 my oldest daughter estranged and I am holding so many stories that I want to share with her. Funny little stories that might not mean much to most people but they are part of our history. I want to tell her about the first time she tried broccoli. She was just two years old and she took a bite while in our small Texas kitchen. She walked from one room to another chewing on it and chewing on it and chewing on it and then returned to me in our kitchen and spit it out in my hand. She tried it and really gave it a good try but just didn’t like it!

I want to tell her about how she took her Beta fish to show and tell in kindergarten. How much spunk and attitude she showed as a little girl when someone didn’t say her name correctly. And so many other little stories … stories that are lost forever if not shared and told.

Today is the anniversary of my husband late wife’s death. It was 25 years ago. She left him with pre-mature infant twins a son and a daughter. He is the “keeper of the flame” as he alone has so many little stories about their very first few days and weeks of life. How they were as infants and how he was as a first time new father.

We all share our stories partly to connect and in part to keep the story alive and remembered. Our stories are important to us as they chronicle our lives. I think most parents have vivid recall of the early years of their children’s lives. The stories help to show us how unique and special they are and we are and our stories validate our life.

When we are the witness of the life of another person we automatically become “the teller of the story” and the “keeper of the flame” for them, we are part of their story and history. Broken relationships don’t allow for the sharing and telling of the story.

When we fail to share the flame becomes much harder to keep alive and keep burning.

In history where would we be without story tellers? And without those that were willing to write about them and document them and keep them alive and burning for the next generation?

Stories should be shared as they teach us about life about ourselves and about one another.

And because Miranda Lambert says it so well, more lyrics from her song Keeper of the Flame;

I’m walking in their footsteps
I’m singing their old songs
Somebody blazed this trail
I’m treadin’ on
I’m bent, but I’m not broken
I’m stronger than I feel
I’m made of flesh and bone
Not made of steel

When I’m drowning
When I’m fighting
When I’m screaming
When I’m hiding
When I’m losing
When I’m winning
I go back to
The beginning

Keeper of the flame
The teller of the story

Share your stories, tell your stories, write your stories because in the end that is all we really have … the stories are important and so are you and all the people in them!

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

When the Road Runs Out

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When the Road Runs Out
By Bernadette A. Moyer

roads

There is nothing like aging to fully comprehend how much road you have already run and that the road is not without an ending. There is a time when the road runs out for each and every one of us. We are born and we will die. It is a given that our life is not infinite but rather has a finite ending.

The older we become the more there is in the rear view mirror. And sadly the less there is up ahead the road that we are on. I’m in a really good place. Less stress and more love are the saving graces in my life today. It all points toward choices.

I owe so much to my husband Brian. He has been my rock and a steady loving partner for 25 years now. Without him, I would never have known true love and the importance of a long lasting committed marriage. I did not witness this growing up, he did. We have had our hurdles. Raising kids was probably the biggest challenge and due to our unique situation we did everything out of order. We had kids, bought the house and then got married. All three kids presented unique challenges and we are lucky to have survived them intact and stronger than ever.

What we are born into and what we experience in our formative years matters. Each child would know the loss of a birth parent. My husband and I would learn early what it meant to have children with a spouse who would never know them and die so young. Their road was cut short. Our lessons taught us to appreciate everyone and everything even more because you never know when you will run out of road.

It seems that it is important to us to have our affairs in order. We both know of each other’s final wishes. We have made peace with things that happened in our lives we accepted the outcomes.

As you travel the road of life, maturing and aging you know longer care about what other people are doing or what they say or think about you because you know yourself better than anyone else. You know that life is precious and that you want to spend it with the people that love you and bring out the best in you. You unhook yourself from people and from situations that are not healthy. You just don’t want to waste your time.

We are 57 years old and traveled on the road for 32 years before we began traveling the road together. Having a life partner that you get along with and genuinely love makes the road so much easier to maneuver. We can’t imagine it any other way.

We look back and we see that a tremendous amount of road has been covered. We have had so many life experiences, so many blessings and in every range of emotions. It has truly been rich.

We look forward and we see the road ahead that contains more travels and more love, God willing. I still make lists of the things we want to do and to achieve. And yes even purchases we still wish to make.

I began my road as an O’Connell girl and although that is where I started from, I could not be more pleased and proud of my road and all that I have become. I would hope that everyone feels that way. And that if you don’t then you should think about making a change and possibly choose another road.

They say that when you are young you read about who just got married and when you get older you read about who died. Our focus shifts, we become so much more aware of both our beginnings and our ending.

On this date 6 years ago, my mother ran out of road when her life unexpectedly ended. Her affairs were not in order. I pray that she has peace and I look forward to the day when we meet up again.

We all know that eventually in this lifetime, we will run out of road … and that is exactly why it is so important to do all the things that make you happy and spend your time with people that add joy to your life …

An Old Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of His hand

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

The Traveling Blueberry Pie

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The Traveling Blueberry Pie, Thanks Café Hon!
By Bernadette A. Moyer

blueberry pie

I won! I won! I won a blueberry pie from Café Hon. Denise Whiting (the owner) was so excited when she called to tell me. It was a Facebook contest and I was the lucky “like” number to win it.

Café’ Hon is located in Baltimore City and in one of my favorite city neighborhoods Hampden. There is a real sense of community there and the houses remind me of the row houses from where I grew up In Allentown, Pennsylvania. There are lots of brick houses with large front porches. It is a community where residents walk to school to their places of worship to the grocery stores and to restaurants and small boutique businesses.

At Christmastime people from all over flock to 36th Street to view the entire street of beautifully well-lit decorated houses. The shops in the area are typically owned by individual shopkeepers, truly small unique retail and restaurants with their own unique offerings. There is a “Hon” Festival (it’s a Baltimore thing) that takes place every summer. Remember mom’s beehive hairdo, lots of that and more …

Anyway back to the pie. It was Lent and I was failing miserable at keeping with my giving up sweets and then comes this pie. So what to do with it? At first I thought about donating it to a shelter but it seemed kind of rude not to go get it and I hadn’t been in the area for a while so I wanted to revisit it. I thought about having lunch there to show my appreciation but I was alone and then thought I will wait and return with my husband. We have eaten there in the past and it was always good home style food.

Many years ago when I was a Realtor I had two neighboring properties with multi-family units inside listed and it was nice to see they had been renovated. And nice to see how clean all the streets were.

I picked up the pie myself and it was beautifully wrapped and waiting for me with my name on it. The restaurant was as welcoming and charming as I remembered. You can’t miss it as it has a big pink flamingo just outside. My husband likes their meatloaf platter and I love the French fries with gravy and the crab soup. If you are interested check them out Café Hon at 1002W. 36th Street Baltimore Maryland 21211 or by phone 410 243-1230 and website cafehon.com

So now what to do with this pie …

I decided to stop at the store and pick up some to-go containers as I was going to cut it up and share it with as many people as I could. The next day I was having lunch with a Priest friend to celebrate his 45th birthday and of course I showed up with his slice of blueberry pie. Then I dropped off a slice for an elderly female friend who doesn’t get out much and lives in a high rise. I sent my husband to work with a slice for himself and an extra piece to give to a favorite co-worker. Our son had one or two pieces and I enjoyed a slice myself. So the pie went to several locations and was enjoyed by many. It truly was a traveling pie!

Thanks Denise Whiting and Café Hon! We will be back soon for some good home style food …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

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