The Endless Hope for Reconciliation

Edith Walker, Stockport

I came across a poem last year. I wish I’d read it years ago, before I tried to unfairly influence my vibrant daughter’s life — tried to get her to please everyone else and keep the peace — without much thought for what she wanted and what would make her happy.

This is a quote from “Your Children” by Kahil Gibran:

…You may give them your love, but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies, but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you...”

As her mother, I should have been in her corner and defended her against all comers. I failed.

I only ever wanted the best for my children — what mother doesn’t?

But when I should have stood up for her, I turned against her, and now I must live with that every day. I made many mistakes with her while she was growing up. I can see that now, and I respect her courage to go it alone, courage I’ve never possessed.

I haven’t seen or spoken to her in years. I don’t know where she lives, and I am blocked from every communications channel that exists. I know nothing about her life. The pain I caused her must be immense, a pain so deep that cutting off everyone who loves her was the better choice.

I worry about her now, in the world, without a family behind her. To put it simply, every day my heart breaks.

I envy my friends, and the time they share with their adult daughters. I miss her on the big days — birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day. I miss her for the small things like her laugh, her constant mess, her music, her excited chatter. I long to hug her, and hold her tight and tell her I’m sorry.

In the beginning, I contacted her constantly. I hoped every time it would be the message that caused the breakthrough. Eventually I realised these were my issues, not hers, and that I must respect her choices, however much I didn’t want to. Now I fear she will think I don’t care, and that I have moved on without her. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We can never go back to where we once were, but I cling to the hope that one day she will give me a second chance, to begin again. If, or until, then my heart and my arms ache for her. I cannot move forward in my life, knowing she is out there alone.

Hope can be a killer. I’m constantly looking for her in every crowded place — just in case. Every big day I pray the doorbell will ring and she will be standing there. Our family circle is incomplete — everyone misses her.

If that day ever comes I’m ready to listen, ready to hear how my bad choices made her feel, however painful that will be. I’d take reconciliation on just about any terms — anything would be better than the pain of missing her — but then that’s the price I have to pay for the mistakes I made.

Fixing a relationship without communication is impossible so I have to wait and hope.

I want to tell her to her she was always enough — more than enough — and to carry that knowledge in her heart for the rest of her life. To believe in herself.

For now I live in hope — hope that one day she will be ready to talk to me and try again. More than I maybe deserve but all I dream of.

Until that day I send my love out into the ether and hope that she has good people around her who love and care about her as much as she deserves. I hope she is happy, loved and that all her dreams come true…and maybe, one day, if she is blessed to be a mother, she will be better than I ever was.

“Your children come through you, but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you”

Stand Alone is a charity that supports people who are estranged from their families or a key family member.

This post is one of a series of beneficiary blogs from our community, with a particular focus on reconciliation.

Do you want to write about your family estrangement? Email e.nelson@standalone.org.uk for more information.