My mom’s birthday is today. This will be her first birthday to pass since she died of ALS. I feel her all around me. And while I know she is spiritually with me at all times, physically, I miss her. Physically, my heart is a little heavy, even though when I stop and allow myself to breathe deeply, I feel her energy around me in a big embrace. It gives me chills.
Since she passed, my dad has moved on. He moved on pretty quickly actually. They were married 48 years and they were together for years before that. It is a classic romance, rags-to-riches, America-utopia story. Him, the first in his family to go to college, working a day job and going to night school; she, more than happy to be awarded the gift of becoming a stay-at-home mom once he was earning enough to support the family solo. She was ill for quite some time. He stayed by her side during her illness. He gave up the freedom to travel in his retirement so that he could be with her. He did so with very little resentment. She always felt horribly guilty. He tried not to let his resentment show.
Once she passed, he was despondent for a while. But within 4 months, he was seriously dating someone from his hometown, his high school even. And although my husband and son were up-in-arms, feeling left out and abandoned, I’ve never felt that way. I’ve just smiled from the sidelines and let him go. I won’t lie. It bewilders me sometimes. Here is this man, the one who wouldn’t let me leave home to even go to summer camp as a child, here he is – gone. For his 70th birthday, he was in Greece. For my daughter’s first birthday, he was in Italy. For my son’s first flag football game, he was at a TCU game. I have no idea where he was for my birthday. It didn’t even register.
And yet, I know. It’s ok. This is the way it’s supposed to be now. Now, I have more freedom in a bizarre way that I ever have before. I have freedom to write, to read, to study, to practice, to play, to work, to grow and to evolve. I have no need to impress anyone, no need to win anyone’s approval. There is nothing between us but love. For my birthday, even though he was not around, he gave me a card. It read: Daughter, I always wondered what you would be like when you grew up. Now I know, you’re like a best friend I’ve known all my life.
So although yes, he is gone. I am so happy for him. And I can confidently say, I do not feel abandoned. For when we remember that we are all a part of an infinite whole, we know that in fact, we cannot ever be alone. Just as my mom is with me in each waking breath, even though I cannot reach out and touch her hand any longer, I simply know this, my dad will always be with me too, even as he galavants about the globe with his adorable new girlfriend.
Do not let the fear of abandonment hold you hostage. Feel the love of the infinite whole right within you. Smile and know: you are never alone.