From the desk of Crystal Andrus:
There was no time to say “Good-bye”, “I’m sorry” or “Let’s get it right.”
It has made me think about some of the people in my own life; people who I wish I had a better relationship with, who I pray would meet me halfway, and who I know I will be sad that I couldn’t . . . or didn’t . . . find resolution with before their passing (even if I go first).
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Death touches us all, in so many different ways. It can teach us so many lessons—most that we already intellectually know but still need to apply. (Although I don’t believe the lessons are for the closest family members, who are in deep grieving; I wouldn’t dream of sharing these thoughts with them.)
But here are some of the lessons that I’d ask the rest of us to ponder today:
- Nothing matters more than love.
- Life is too short.
- Forgiving someone doesn’t make them right.
- Each day is a gift.
- Don’t wait until it’s too late to tell someone you love them.
- You don’t know what you’ve got, until you’ve lost it.
- If you still have a chance, take it.
- Make peace with your past.
- “Right now” is all you’ve got.
- Death is inevitable.
Why are these lessons so relevant to me—so urgent that I share with you?
I have not spoken to my own mother in so many years, I’ve lost track. I’ve sent the occasional card and gift. I’ve knocked on her door (metaphorically speaking), but she’s chosen not to answer.
Where does that leave me?
Where does that leave you, if you are in the same boat with someone you love but can’t seem to get things sorted out with?
I asked myself this morning,
“Crystal, why do you feel so badly?”
The answer surprised me: Guilt
I feel guilty that we don’t speak. I feel guilty that I can’t fix it. I feel guilty that her life is not where I think it should be . . . or could be. I feel guilty that I can’t fix it. I feel guilty that I can’t be around her without becoming an angry, bitter, scared, codependent child. I feel guilty that I can’t fix this. I feel guilty that I can’t fix her.
And then it dawned on me: What if I am not supposed to fix it? Or fix her?
What if that’s not my job? What if I am only supposed to love her?
Could I do that?
Could I just simply love her—without getting pulled into her drama, her stories, her messes, her pain?
Am I that strong?
Am I that loving?
What if today I was going to her funeral instead of my friend’s parent? What would I say to the congregation?
“What a tragedy that I was unable to spend time with the woman who gave birth to me, who braided my hair when I was little, who taught me how to read, and let me make mud pies on hot summer days.
“What a tragedy that as I grew into a woman, I became so unable to make sense of her choices, frustrated with her mistakes, and hurt by her inability to give me what I most needed.
“What a tragedy that I couldn’t enjoy her more—that I didn’t actually ever get to know the ‘real her’ and that she didn’t know the ‘real me’—not the angry daughter I became.
“What a tragedy that she was unable to love me the way I needed to be loved and that I was unable to love her the way she needed to be loved.
“It’s all such a tragedy . . .
“But today, I share this tragedy with you so that you can perhaps learn from our mistakes and try to get it right before it’s too late, because nothing matters more than love . . . and life is too short. Forgiving someone doesn’t make them right. Each day is a gift. Don’t wait until it’s too late to tell someone you love them. You don’t know what you’ve got, until you’ve lost it. If you still have a chance, take it. Make peace with your past. ‘Right now’ is all you’ve got. Death is inevitable.”
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there…including my own.
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Crystal Andrus is a bestselling author, international speaker, women’s advocate and Founder of The S.W.A.T Institute (Simply Woman Accredited Trainer) ~ the world’s #1 online Personal Empowerment Certification Coaching School for women. She can be reached at www.crystalandrus.com or www.swatinstitute.com.