Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Letting Go...

Two little words that seem so simple, but can be so difficult to actually do. But, when you do them, you either free yourself or free someone else....

"Letting Go!"

As a mom, I know I have to let go of my children, little by little, in order for them to grow and mature. Sometimes it's a piece of cake, other times not so much so.

There are times when I suddenly realize I've been letting go and wasn't even aware it was happening. It occurred slowly and naturally. One day I blink and realize my child doesn't need me the way he used to, he's becoming more independent and I've let go a little more. He suddenly can tie his own shoes, order his own meal at McDonald's, read a book by himself, carry his own sports bag withoug tripping over it, do his homework without help. I smile at who he's becoming.

Other times I feel the tug of war - I know I must let go, but I am scared to death to do it. Letting go when he gets on the school bus the first time, heading to kindergarten, at times peeling him from my leg as he is screaming and crying to stay with me.... my heart is breaking, but I must let go. Letting go when he goes on his first date, knowing there's a good chance he will have his heart broken in the near future.... my heart breaks thinking of it, but I know I must let go. Letting go when the car keys are handed over for the first time, kissing him good-bye as he gets behind the wheel and drives down the road into the traffic with all the other drivers....my heart pounding as I imagine what could happen, but I know I must let go. Letting go when he heads to college, gets his first apartment, no longer having to be home by midnight.... knowing what mischief we could get into, but I know I have to let him become his own person, I must let go....

.... Because, if I don't "let go" when it is the "correct" time to, my son(s) will not grow, he will not get one step closer to the ultimate goal - of being an independent, responsible young man. The only way this can happen is for me to suck it up and "let go" - even if I don't want to.

As I think about "letting go" I suddenly realize that is excactly what I've done over the past two and a half years, when it comes to Austin. Actually, it started the day he died. I had to let him go physically. After a couple months I let him go in my mind (not my in my memory, but in accepting he was gone). You would think this was the final letting go, but it wasn't. It didn't end there. Letting go when someone dies takes a while - if not a life time.

For me, letting go includes accepting not just in my mind, but also my heart, that Austin is gone. It's letting go of feeling I'm letting Austin down when I allow his brothers do something he didn't do, or at least at a younger age (but that's part of being the oldest child, being the guinnea pig for parenting). Come to think of it, there were a lot of things Austin did, that his brothers haven't had the opportunity to do and may never.... It's letting go of the guilt when I find myself enjoying life and truly living it, realizing that even though Austin's life here on Earth has ended mine hasn't. It's letting go of the fear that if I stop feeling the pain I will start forgetting Austin. In fact, that's when I realize I will never forget Austin, and by letting go of the fear I can now embrace the joy I feel when I remember him - true joy.

Some of the "letting go" I'm not even able to put into words right now. I know I've let go, I can feel it.... I can feel the freedom of letting go, I can feel the growth from letting go, I can feel the love I have for Austin from letting go.

"Grieving is a necessary passage and a difficult transition to finally letting go of sorrow - it is not a permanent rest stop." Dodinsky