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Dear Mom

by Isaac brown III 3 months ago in family

My Journey to Emotional Maturity

“Why did I even do that?” A lot of us deal with issues that manifest themselves in ways that often catch us off guard, many of which bring hard lessons. The lesson that was hardest for me to learn at that time is forgiveness.

It would happen every year. The annual sharp pain that entered and exited the middle of my chest with the breaking of the frigid season into one much warmer. You passed in July, and as much as I wanted to pretend it never happened, my body wouldn’t let me.

“I’m sorry to inform you kids that your mom passed away in her sleep last night.”

“Did I dream this…was this even real?” I thought to myself, lost in thought as I stared down at your tombstone. “I mean, because of your...illness...you had been gone before but now…you are really…”

“God, I pray that I die soon. I don’t want to live the rest of my life without her.” This petition stayed fresh for many years following, so much so that they became self-fulfilling. In many ways, after you passed, I had stopped participating in life.

That’s when the anger stage came.

“All they want to do is take, but they have nothing to give in return!” I proclaimed in frustration to my elder sister after my first heartbreak, associating the rejection of my “nice guy” personality with my dad’s loyalty to his wife despite all she had put our family through.

My mother’s death affected me in so many ways back then that till this day I don’t know if I can honestly say that I am aware of them all. But one thing I would say, however, to anyone facing a similar situation, one word I would hope becomes the last part of closure on the chapter of someone else’s turmoil is…

Forgiveness.

“It’s not fair! It’s not…I see how the two of us could have made it, we realistically could have become more than friends! Did I really have to give that up just because I was not ready for it yet?” I used these words as the banner of a pity party that I regularly threw for myself.

Nobody celebrated with me.

Everyone told me to move on from a girl who had meant so much to me, and still does till this day. But deep down I knew. Deep down I knew that the real reason why me and my best friend hadn’t dated is because of undealt with anger issues I had at the time. Anger issues that she made known to me on a regular basis. Anger issues that stemmed directly from the relationship before, that had their origin in my mother’s passing.

Or more appropriately, her life.

It wasn’t my mother’s passing that affected me the most, nor was it the revelation that she had committed suicide rather than passing in her sleep as us kids who were “too young” at the time to “understand” were told. It was how she lived her life that left the biggest impact on me and my siblings. From the arguments she had with my dad through slurred words and thrown table pieces, to the times she left to go to “rehab” only to come back the same, to the short period of time she and my dad were divorced; me and my sisters saw enough of a bad relationship to last a lifetime.

“This is the third time you ended up with the same type of girl,” my cousin told me.

“If you keep ending up with the same type of people, sometimes you have to ask YOURSELF why,” my dad would share.

As much as I hated to admit it, proclaiming that every girl I had dated was “the one for me,” they were right. All my relationships back then were toxic, and all I was doing was playing a “hero complex.” Trying to save a lost soul, without first finding my own.

“You’re a jerk!” Francesca said. I rejected these words.

“I can’t believe you would do that!” Naomi shrieked, contradicting the perfect image I had of myself.

“How could I of all people be a jerk?” I would think to myself. I’ve always been known to be the quiet one, the guy who everybody said was a little too nice. And yet, once again, the people who were closest to me, the ones who I let my guard down enough with for them to see the part of me that still needed healing, were right.

A wise book says that “love keeps no record of wrongs,” and “love does not boast, love is gentle, and love is kind.” How could I say that I was being gentle and kind, walking in true love if every time someone tried to give me advice, to make me a better person, I would lash out with verbal arrows as a defense mechanism? I wasn’t too nice, I was simply not yet secure enough in myself to show people the real me, and not healed enough to show the world the best version of who that person could be. Something that is still being perfected till this day.

“I want more for myself…I know I have issues, but I just don’t know how to fix them.” I laugh at these words today. I addressed everything I could find but the elephant in the room, cut away at every branch only for the root of the tree to bring forth more fruits of anger, insecurity, and jealousy, and yet the real issue remained:

My mom had passed away, and I never gave myself a chance to fully grieve over her death...or life. I had to accept the fact that she was gone.

Instead, I sought solace in (emotionally) intimate relationships. The girl in my classroom’s acceptance of me meant my mother’s acceptance of me, that I was good enough, worth staying alive for. And when I was rejected, the wounds of her passing surfaced once more, but none of that was true.

My mom was my mom. Naomi and Francesca were who they were, and even if they weren’t the ones for me, they didn’t deserve to be on the receiving end of anger that I had for my mother. I wanted something better for myself, and I was allowing a dead thing to keep me from it.

Where do I find my happiness today? That’s a good question. I once thought that all my problems would be solved in the right type of relationship. I once sought the solution externally. I (subconsciously) felt that there was a gap in my life left by a woman, and so, the only possible solution I sought was from a relationship with opposite sex. One that would endure indefinitely. But now I know the truth. Now I know that true joy (happiness and contentment independent of external circumstances) comes from within, and that all our varying relationships are merely us inviting others into this sacred place.

“Forgiveness is not for the person who offended you,” a preacher once said on TV, “it is for yourself, so that you can move on and have the life that God intended you to have.” Whether or not one believes in God, the objective truth of these words reigned as king in my first steps toward freedom from what one might call a dark childhood. Oh how I longed in those days to vent at the one who “offended me,” to tell her how I really felt, but she was gone, and wasn’t coming back. This however did not mean that I could not allow myself to heal, that I couldn’t decide to forgive all she put our family (especially my dad who stuck by her through her worst) through and heal for the sake of myself and my future relationships.

Besides, I gained a pretty cool stepmom who was probably one of the greatest gifts that we could have asked for at that time.

“Have I missed you since you passed mom?” Yes, I said to myself, still staring down at your grave. I would have been lying if I said you never crossed my mind. I wondered what your advice for my first date would have been, or better yet, for my first breakup. I love my dad, and he was there for me, but I didn’t really latch onto someone who could give me the female perspective until I was much older and had processed some.

“But am I in a better place now? A much healthier and happier one?” Yes. I very much am.

A lot of us deal with issues that manifest themselves in ways that often catch us off guard, many of which bring hard lessons. The lesson that was hardest for me to learn is forgiveness.

But what I have learned is that forgiveness is not to be waited on for the person who offended you to get their act together. Sometimes this is impossible. It is something that we must find the courage to do ourselves, keeping the goal of a better life as the focus in our plight to receive everything that this beautiful life has to offer us.

The words of a once bitter man now turning into someone he is in excited expectation to see the manifestation of.

family

Isaac brown III

I am a Christian and a lover of sci-fi; a genre that I love for it's ability to present ideals and beliefs in a way that has the ability to breakthrough prejudices of a subject that is all but ignored if presented in any other way.

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