Acceptance – the hardest, most illusive stage of grief, often not even remotely attainable. So imagine my surprise when I recently realized I have found acceptance within an unacceptable situation.
I am a first-time grandmother to a wonderful, beautiful little grandson, a grandson I will probably only ever know by photographs and maybe, oh how I hope, a rare visit. I have spent the last 11 years in various stages of estrangement from my only child, my son. Well, that’s not really true; there have been two stages – total ghosted estrangement and where we are now – reconciled but distant, communication mostly by text. (I won’t go into the story of our estrangement here since it’s not the point of this post, but if you are new to my blog, please read previous posts for a better understanding of where we are now). There were some phone calls when the baby was born, which gave me hope that maybe that might continue, that maybe my grandchild might be the catalyst to further improve the relationship between my son and I. But alas, the phone calls faded away and we are back to texts, not even texts really, just picture of the baby. And don’t get me wrong – I will take those all day long every day! It’s just bittersweet.
I had so much anxiety leading up to and just after his birth – would I get to see him, get to even know him? Would he be told lies about me? What would he grow up falsely believing about his grandmother? It was overwhelming. But the truth is that I can’t control any of that. If anything, I have learned that we simply cannot control others, not what they do, not what they say, and definitely not what they think. They create the lies – why in the hell should I have to live with the shame of something that isn’t even true??
This last week, I felt something odd within me, something new. As the photo texts came in intervals but nothing else, I found that I wasn’t mad, wasn’t sad, if anything perhaps maybe just disappointed. Then I realized, I’ve finally moved on into acceptance. I didn’t try to find it, didn’t force it. It came about naturally, giving some credence I guess to the old adage ‘time heals all wounds‘. But in all seriousness, I have accepted that this is where the relationship is at with my son and this is where my relationship will be with my grandson. There is nothing I can do to change it – I have already tried everything anyway. Although it is my fear come true, I think in some way I knew it could come down to this and I was somehow, after everything else, prepared for it. It is what it is (and I truly hate that expression).
Acceptance. It’s really quite a remarkable feeling. It feels like a thousand tons of weight have been lifted from my shoulders, like the dark pit holding me down has given way a little and released its foothold. It doesn’t mean I have to like how things are – it still sucks! But it doesn’t hurt as much anymore. It doesn’t feel like I have barbed wire bound so tightly around me anymore, holding me in one miserable place where I can’t breathe and can barely move. I can look at the situation for what it is – terrible and completely unfortunate but one in which I can’t control or change. Instead of looking back, maybe I can finally take a step forward and think, “Ok, now what? What can I do today for me, for others, to make today and the world around me better?” I can’t do anything about the past, but just maybe I can let go and start seeing a future again, a future that was so dark and clouded over before that I felt it just didn’t exist for me. Sometimes we have to make our own way forward – and let what others think be damned.