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January 2, 2012

I figured it out and it begins with…

Tis time "for giving" back the pain to the circumstances where it was created, reframe, let the wounds heal and "for getting" back your power to express your authentic, love-created self. BE are the only one who may. What a wonderful you, you are! (Borrowed FB posting)

After reading the above words in a Face Book posting, I put pen to paper and began processing residual childhood hurt weighing heavy on my heart for far too many years.  As I authored a letter to my parents, I quickly realized this was not a letter for them it was for me.  Clarity swiftly and unexpectedly arrived as I wrote the following words.

…I too felt that in these moments you considered what life would be like if Amy was living or if the two of us could change places.  I felt, as though I was less than and there was nothing I could do that would ever be good enough.  For the first time in my life, at this very moment, I realize that I have been living in the shadows of a sister I never knew who lived on this earth for only a short moment in time.  The idea of her life; how it [life] may have manifested itself if she were living.  I felt, as though I was a constant reminder of the baby girl that was lost and for this reason, I was now an outsider.
I felt as though:
1. I was a reminder of a child that was lost
2. I was resented
3. I was an outsider
4. I was not liked or loved
5. I was less than
6. I was never going to be good enough
7. I was not worthy
“Amy was so special that God called her back home to be with him” (parents stated). I thought, if this was the case, where did this leave me, was I not special.  I was surely being punished!  

This was one of the biggest reflective realizations of my life; it may have taken many years but at last, I understood.  I was very young when my sister passed away; I believe I was around six or seven years of age.  The words my parents used to explain her passing were meant to comfort however; my filter received the message much different, especially because I was the only living girl in the family.  For all these years, I never really understood why I never felt good enough and my self-confidence lacked sorely.  How could I possibly believe I was a special girl if special girls go to live with God?  Understanding what cultivated my pain has allowed me to release the hurt and let go of these wounds after many years.  Last evening I felt lighter and free.

Many years ago, I acknowledged that my parenting ideology differs from theirs [parents].  There is always a reason behind ones’ behavior – people do well if they can – it was a challenging time for my parents in the early days.  I have long taken issue with, what I see as my parents overuse and misguided use of corporal punishment; it makes me physically ill, to this day, to hear a child being spanked.  I firmly believe that if they had to do it all over again, they would make different choices however; spanking would remain present yet more appropriate.  Equally, I do not much fancy avoidance; acting as though there is not an issue when clearly there is an issue needing attention.  This works for some individuals, not for me.  It is what it is.  The end.  

Today, after many years of estrangement, I visited my parents.  We had a lovely exchange of pleasantries; I did not feel as though I was less then or not worthy.  I was confident and secure.  I had to chuckle, prior to my departure,  my mother hastened my boys over to her Christmas tree to point out a photo ornament that I do not much fancy of me as a child.   With a giggle, I turned to my father and remarked that it is good to know that some things never change; at least she [mother] is consistent. I then thought to myself that each relationship is unique and different and this is okay.
Living in the present, is a beautiful gift I have given to myself.  It allows me to see today, in large part unfettered by the past or the future.  It is time to resolve, dissolve, and let go of childhood hurt.  January 1, 2012 was the day that this happened for me.  Since my cancer diagnosis, July 7, 2011, I embarked on a journey of self-discovery and have made peace and found clarity in abundance.  I feel lighter now.  My breath flows easier.  I am at peace.  

                                                    Grandma LeGall
As a child, my closest relationship was with my Grandma and Grandpa LeGall; they understood me and loved me where I was at, no matter what.  I visited my Grandma LeGall today; she resides in an Alzheimer’s assisted living facility.  I am thankful that she remembers me, even with my post chemotherapy hair, or lack thereof.  I am thankful that she is always in a delightful mood when I see her; her smile is magical.  When I am close to her, I feel her love and somehow feel the love of my grandfather, whom has passed, when in her presence.  She was excited to learn that I have relocated back to Oregon and we will be able to spend time together on a regular basis.  She gently asked me why my hair was so short and I told her that I have breast cancer and lost my hair after going through chemotherapy.  She looked into my eyes and smiled deeply at me.  In that moment, her eyes did the talking and I received her message.  We embraced as I departed; I whispered in her ear “I love you”, she whispered back “I love you”.  Her embrace comforted me; there is nothing better than a hug from grandma! 

Today, I am hopeful~