Monday, March 14, 2011

Seeds of Transformation

What experience has seemed most unfair in your life? How has your understanding of this experience evolved over time?

I will admit, having lived with my mother, my ex-husband, and my current poly lover, it's hard to pick a single one that seems most unfair. I did nothing to cause my mother's anger and vitriol, and while I was not a model wife I certainly didn't deserve to be cheated on by an ex who claimed he was monogamous. My most recent poly lover has lied to me for no reason I can understand, and then been angry that I didn't change in accordance with his desires. All this seems incredibly unfair.

Still, I think of all the things in my life that have been unfair, losing my daughter was the one that stands out most. While I was a participant in losing her, the lies and nastiness that preceded it were not things which I influenced or had control over. At the time it happened, I could feel nothing but pure betrayal and a sick, dying pit in my soul. I was very badly hurt by that loss, and I know she was as well. For me, the lies ended that day; for her they simply began anew, as those who retained control over her began feeding her the story line they'd created.

Over the years, I have come to understand that there was no real perfect solution to the problem that presented itself. Had I stayed where my daughter was, I would have lost my self-respect and all ability to be a functioning, healthy person. Had I taken her with me, she would have been a witness to the break-up of Gray's marriage, which was not physically violent but was emotionally violent. Had I managed to get custody of her later, she would have seen me going through therapy and struggling with my own sense of being, and I'm not sure that would have been good for her either. Of course, now that I'm much more whole, and much more capable of being the mother she deserves, she's not interested. She's lived with the lies and hatred for so long that it's all she knows. It hurts... but I live with it. What's most important is that she's safe, and much stronger than she thinks.

Have you experienced great loss? How have you dealt with grief or anger? How has it changed you?

Losing my daughter was my greatest loss. Other than that, I would have to say the day that Eric died was the worst for me, though. It was only a week before the twins were born, and he and I had rekindled our friendship with one another. We talked about anything and everything, and I was so proud of him. He was doing well in school, and had taken a holiday to gather strength for the next semester. I was in the chem lab when I got an email from a friend, trying desperately to find Eric's mother. I found out he had suffered a massive stroke and had died fairly quickly. I'm grateful he didn't suffer, and I'm grateful that the last words he heard from me were words of pride and love. But he was the first person of "my" generation to die, and he was someone I owed so much to. Dealing with that grief was terrible; it happened right before Samhain, and I just couldn't lead the ritual that year. I couldn't let go of him, with the wound so fresh and sore. I spent a lot of time crying, for weeks. My first few days with the twins, when they came home, were tinged with the pain of his loss. I can't describe how those children represented the fact that life went on, even after he died... and there were moments I resented that terribly.

Now... years later, I think on him often. I offer wine and barley to him, and words of prayer and praise, as one of my spiritual ancestors. I still love him, and I feel his presence more now. I see him as one of my angels, my companions through this tour of life.

Have you found gifts in the loss?

Oh yes! I found I can live through the pain, and that I can grieve without losing myself completely. I gained a guardian and guide who is still with me and always will be in some form or another. I've learned I'm stronger than I thought I was.

Who or what have you not forgiven?

I will admit, I'm still struggling with the idea of forgiving my poly lover. I feel like he turned on me, turned on my family, and that's been tough. Distance has given me perspective, but I still can't see the forest for the trees. I can't see the motivation for the lies and the anger. I want to forgive, but not forget, and yet I'm still holding onto that one. At some point I need to do a ritual of separation, but I'm not there, yet.
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