I laid in the dark. In silence. My back against my husband’s warm chest.
I had just saw a social media post from a man I had in the past, fallen for. A man who had made me laughed and cried. A man who had handed me both pain and joy.
For some reason, my mind tried to recall the hurtful events that had taken place during the time I spent with him.
We had never been an item.
It was supposed to be a casual thing.
But me being me, I — slowly inevitably fell for him.
Not head over heels, no.
But enough to cause some damage.
Enough for me to slowly rebuild a wall that had taken me some time to chip away, brick by brick.
The wall I had built when I broke up with my first ever boyfriend. My only ex-boyfriend. The wall I had slowly removed so I could venture outside the confine of my own mind and heart.
It was back on.
Here’s something I’ve only ever uttered to my husband and no one else.
Not even people closest to me.
I had thought about it for so long, it was eating me up alive.
I have to make this confession.
My mother was a magnanimous character. She was a devout Buddhist who enjoyed and loved giving and caring more than anything else.
She didn’t only give material things.
She gave the world her love, her compassion, her energy, her effort, and her time. Things I deem more precious than anything else in the world.
Prior to the night, she was hospitalized for a brain aneurysm and subsequently went into a coma and never woke up again, she had taken upon herself several religious and charitable responsibilities.
She had long prayer sessions and had joined a retreat. Praying well into the night and waking up early the next morning to cook for others in the retreat.
There is some sort of belief within my family and the religious group we are a part of that making good karma on your birthday has much more karmic impact than making good karma on any other day of the year.
Although my whole family always tries to do good for others throughout the year — kindness is very important in our household — we have grown accustomed to going the extra mile on our birthdays.
Visits to orphanages and retirement homes. Volunteering, donating food, and blood to those in need.
The only lavish birthday party I’ve ever had was my sweet 17 and even that was held in my own house, with my mother ordering simple catering food.
The year my mother passed away was no difference.
It was her birthday.
Other than a few birthday meals organized by our family and her close friends, she devoted all her energy and time for charity and prayer.
And here lies my problem.
My mother has never been physically very fit since she was a child.
When she took care of her health, taking vitamins and supplements, she does alright.
She exercised every now and then and ate relatively healthy.
However, she had had a lifelong migraine and a few other generic ailments.
She simply couldn’t be too tired.
That year she passed away, whenever she worked herself to a fatigue, she would end up being hospitalized.
I didn’t realize my own emotion — lurking in the dark — at first.
I was too busy being sad.
How could she have left so soon? How could this happen? She was so young. — Denial
Days, perhaps weeks after she was cremated, anger set in.
This is the part I have never ever told anyone saved my husband.
It is so human yet so not me I didn’t know what to make of it.
I was angry, because I felt my mother had chosen to be a saint rather than live and stay with us.
Here’s my thought process:
She knew she was not fit to pull off everything she had signed up for. She was a grown-up, a very mindful person who was always aware of everything going on around her. Shouldn’t she knew her own physical limitations? Did she push on despite knowing her body might not be able to take it? Did charity become more important than us, her flesh and blood?
I was very very confused.
I love being kind. I love watching others being kind — it inspires me to be kinder. I love helping whenever it’s possible and I love watching people get helped by others.
But this time, this only one time, I felt like it had cost me something big.
Something I wasn’t willing to give. Something so precious I rue the day it was taken from me.
But it was out of kindness, for kindness.
It took me a year to process this whole thing.
For some reason, I didn’t go through bargaining nor depression.
Sure, I had meltdowns, times when I just broke down and cried my heart out.
But never once I bargained or felt depressed for the worst loss in my life.
For some reason, I moved on directly to acceptance.
Being raised by two female warriors in my family has certainly helped a lot.
My grandmother and mother love and live fiercely (my grandmother is still alive). There’s no room for crying over spilled milk.
All the reading I have had over the years has helped immensely too.
I’ve been reading a lot of books on life, philosophy, and self-improvement.
Everything worked collectively in my favour, carrying me through my pain.
What truly saved me though, was the realization that first of all, it was ridiculous to be angry at my mother because I felt she had chosen her charity over me.
We all lose ourselves in our own world sometimes and we make mistakes — over and underestimating things.
She must have had overestimate her own strength and underestimate the amount of things she had to do.
She would have stayed if she could.
But most importantly, I lost sight of all the good she had done because I kept focusing on being angry for not having what I wanted.
I wanted my mother to be alive and well.
I wanted my mother to be in my wedding, watch my children grow up.
I wanted my mother to be there when I need advice.
I wanted my mother to be here.
And I was angry because I could no longer have what I wanted and in my childish mind, my mother was the one who had taken everything away from me.
I know. I want to slap myself too (and I did, once on each side. Fully awake now).
By focusing on what I wanted, and being angry for not being able to have it, I had taken my mind off all the good things I should have focused on.
There wasn’t any space left when my anger took over.
All I could think of was she should have done this, she should have done that.
Coming to that realization was like waking up from a long sleep and finally being able to see through the illusion.
I had to make a decision.
I had to grow up.
I had to make space.
As I was lying next to my husband in the darkness, trying to recall the past hurtful event, something bizarre occurred.
I couldn’t remember the hurting sensation. I remember the events, but not the feeling of hurting.
I couldn’t recall the heartache I had felt. I remember it was like a squeeze in the heart but other than that, I couldn’t remember the pain that at the time must have probably eating at me.
I made space for love.
I had let go of my past hurt, cleared up the space and my husband had filled it with love. So much that it was overflowing, pushing away all the hurt.
It’s like ocean waves, coming in tides, enveloping the shore, carrying with it everything it covers and pulls.
The writings on the sand are wiped clear.
I made space for kindness, for compassion and for love.
I started to look around and see the impact my mother had created during her days on Earth.
I look at my father, who she had loved with her whole being. I look at myself in the mirror, at my brothers, her pride and joy, carrying parts of her. I look at my grandmother, who had brought her beautiful soul into this world. I look at her siblings, the ones she had taken care of so well that they are now taking care of others. I look at a picture of my grandfather, the man who had taught her kindness and innocence.
I can go on forever — the lives she had touched.
I cleared the space my anger had occupied and made space for all the goodness instead.
Why — why do we hold on to things that hurt us?
The only way to stop bleeding is to let go of the proverbial knife we have grasped tightly with our bare hands.
We need to let it go.
The pain will be immense at first but you will soon learn how to stitch your wound, and it will heal.
Clear up the space you have unconsciously hoarded with pain, with anger, with anguish.
Make space for all the good things waiting to fill your space, because it’s there, and it’s overflowing.
Love, abundance, joy, compassion, kindness.
Everything is accumulating, waiting to occupy the space you free up.
Let go of all the hurt and all the pain.
Make space for love.
Make space for happiness.
You deserve it.
Thank you for reading my piece.
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