My current husband and I have been married for nearly 17 years. He’s not my first husband. My first husband is a wonderful man but we made each other miserable. We remain dear friends, in fact, he was my labor coach for Hannah, who wasn’t his child – but that’s a story for another blog post. His mother, Ethel, has been as important to me as my own mother over the years. You’d think that she’d have given up on me after the divorce, but the reverse is true. Instead, she has embraced my new journey, loves my husband any my other children. A few days ago I gave her a quick call and she told me that she’d sent me a letter. She apologized for it’s forthright nature. Apprently she’d been sleepless and her thoughts drifted my way.
Given all that the past few months have given me – the death of my Boodge, the best cat that EVER crossed my path, the death of Austin, our pup of 12+ years, the death of Smokey, the kitty we deparetly tried to save- followed by my absence from my family for 3 months as I cared for my father, whose passing will be a heartbreak for me for some time to come- it’s no wonder that I was on her mind. For some reason, this woman has been for me what every person in this life needs- a compassionate heart, a listening ear and sometimes a swift kick in the arse.
The letter that she sent was brief- centered on the Christmas stationary with a red robin in the corner and some garland. It read only:
Peace, Love, Forgiveness
In Christian Love,
Mother Ethel, age 90 yr
It brought tears to my eyes. 90 years old and lying in bed, unable to sleep, offering simple wisdom…to me. It’s cyclical, you see. Forgiveness gives you peace and you can’t forgive without love. She was telling me exactly what I have to do to move forward in my life. She’s done this since I’ve known her, some 30+ years She’s never been an outsider to me, but she’s always approached my life circumstances like one- looking into the window of my sorrows and finding the single flower of hope in the vase on my metaphorical table and reminding me to admire it’s beauty. I won’t bore you with where I hurt or how my forgiveness needs to come, but I can tell you that she got it right again. Peace, Love, Forgiveness. Is there much more to life than this , really?
It is possible to be surrounded by people and still be completely and utterly alone in the room. This has been my last six weeks. It’s the bramble on the path we all walk. Not so important, I think, what I feel. Sometimes more important what I know to be true. I am not alone in my saddness or my joy. What I take for granted, what I sometimes flat out refuse to see or acknowledge even, doesn’t change what is actually true. I am part of the richness of many lives. We are as connected to one another as the threads of a spider’s web. When one strand is pulled, we all shift in that direction, protecting the tensile strength of the woven masterpiece. There are few things more breathtaking than a dew-laden spider web at dawn- evidence that masterful creation is still possible. There is a hope in that visage. If that web is torn down, the spider will rebuild. And so will I.
I doubt that I’ll ever have the courage, guileless generosity or wisdom of Ethel Fox. But I am smart enough to heed. To you, this year, I wish simply Peace, Love and Forgiveness. Happy New Year