Be grateful for the experience
because with the experience comes a lesson.
And with the lesson comes growth.
And with growth, comes a new you.
Kwote #82 K E Garland
One valuable lesson that I’ve steadily learned over the years is that we each have our own unique experiences that make us who we are. Take myself for example. If you’ve read at least one of my posts, then you know by now that my mother died when I was 16. What you might not realize is the resentment that I often felt from simply being adopted by her.
Why would a person with a terminal illness adopt a baby?
This question resurfaced in my mind over and over again. I never wondered why she died. I never felt bitterness because she died. Instead, I wondered why, if she knew she was going to die would she adopt a baby?
My grandmother has retold the story of how my mother always wanted to provide a child with an enriching experience like hers. As it goes, my mom had such a great childhood that she wanted to give the same type of life to someone who might otherwise not have one.
But that never seemed to be a good enough reason. Shallow, I know. It took a bit of introspection, but the answer finally came to me. I had to stop viewing my mom as a person with an illness who adopted a baby. The description is too small. Instead, I began to view her as a caring, self-less person who decided to make love a priority. And because of her personality, I was fortunate enough to have a certain type of experience. Growing up, I never viewed her as dis-abled. My mother, though she lived with kidney disease, never used her illness as a crutch. In between her dialysis treatments, she lived a purposeful life. She was unafraid of people or experiences. In fact, she showed me that I could do whatever I wanted, if I just set my mind to it. This belief embodied my spirit and permeated my entire being. Still. And I’m convinced that my mother’s life and the sixteen years that she shared with me directly shaped who I am today.
My father, on the other hand, provided a different type of experience. With my mother, I felt the presence of unconditional love. With my dad, I felt an unexpected absence of affection and care. I’d always wondered why he didn’t just dig deep and finish raising me. The answer is simple: he couldn’t. And it’s okay. Though it’s a bit of a sad story, I’m grateful for what happened next. You can read about it here. Slowly, the disruption in our relationship led to an accumulation of unconscious feelings. I tried to replace his disaffection with achievements and other more unhealthy behaviors. But these didn’t work. Abandonment. Shame. Low self-worth. These emotions lived with me for two decades. I’ve begun referring to this period as my chrysalis of pain. In a healthy chrysalis, what’s inside is nourished, grows and emerges. Except, mine didn’t. A stilted caterpillar, I fed off of hurtful situations, until I became conscious and worked through each and every one. What I gained was a new perspective of my self. What surfaced was a woman who learned to live purposefully through self-love.
Today, I have equal gratitude for both experiences with my mom and dad. Because with the experiences came lessons. And with the lessons came growth. And with growth, came a new me.