It’s never too late to heal old wounds

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Editor’s note:  I had a mishap with my blog and lost some recent posts. Oh dear, and I was so proud of them too.

I didn’t mean to break my mother’s heart when I left England as a young man to go to Canada. But I know now that I did break my mother’s heart.

I also deeply regret, with hindsight, that I was not physically present to comfort or assist my mother in her later years as she battled with a chronic illness.

I was so involved with my new life in British Columbia, you see. I was so passionate in my quest to discover deeper meaning and purpose in life — the truth of my existence — that I scarcely had room for anything else.

I remember how earnestly I spoke to my mother about my dreams and my goals before saying goodbye to my parents at Victoria station in London and boarding the train that would take me to the ship that would take me to Canada.

I tried hard to assure her that I would be fine and she was not to worry and everything would work out as it should. But really, what did I know of the sadness and emptiness that was in her heart as she saw her only child slip away in search of a different world and a different life?

My mother was sensitive, with a bit of poetry in her heart. Perhaps she sensed with a mother’s intuition that the schism that already existed between myself and my parents — born of my longing for “the path less trod” — would only widen as time went by.

In any case, that is what happened. I found a spiritual mentor in British Columbia who by virtue of his living, and his presence, filled the longing that was in me and brought a sense of meaning and purpose into my life.

There was a price to be paid, however, for my choice to follow my mentor and live for 36 years in the spiritual community he had created.

It is a wonderful thing to become more conscious of our true meaning and potential. But it’s not so wonderful if in the process we begin to think of ourselves as being somehow a bit different from other people, or a bit better than other people – especially our parents.

To whatever extent, I fell into this trap. A gulf continued to widen between myself and my parents that I regret thoroughly and completely.

But while I feel the sadness of that past alienation, I feel something else too. I feel the indestructible nature of truth and the limitless power of life to forgive and to heal.

I am simply relating my own experience here, and we each must honor our own perceptions about life and death. But I feel the support and encouragement of my parents with me in these latter years of my life more strongly than ever.

I feel their presence and love reaching across time, indeed untouched by time. And I feel the separation that did exist between us is healed. Incidentally my mother’s name was Kate. She was a school-teacher before she married, with a special love for English. She was one of five sisters born in a beautiful part of England known as Devon.

I have read some of the letters that my Mum and Dad shared before they married. How much they loved each other. What joy they knew, and what strength they showed as they lived their lives.

I would love to hear from you. If you have any thoughts or experiences you would like to share, please write.

Picture credit: Copyright All rights reserved by Zdenko Zivkovic

 

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

DiscoveredJoys June 18, 2013 at 10:25 am

I came across this quotation the other day, which seems appropriate:
“To be mature you have to realize what you value most. It is extraordinary to discover that comparatively few people reach this level of maturity. They seem never to have paused to consider what has value for them. They spend great effort and sometimes make great sacrifices for values that, fundamentally, meet no real needs of their own. Perhaps they have imbibed the values of their particular profession or job, of their community or their neighbors, of their parents or family. Not to arrive at a clear understanding of one’s own values is a tragic waste. You have missed the whole point of what life is for.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Now you can debate what this quote means but the meaning I draw from it is that you must be true to yourself, not living to other people’s expectations. On the other hand, one of my other values is not to be nasty and selfish. Life can be wonderful but living can be tough.

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Christopher Foster June 18, 2013 at 6:09 pm

It’s a beautiful quote. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. She was quite a lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, wasn’t she? It reminds me of Shakespeare’s classic quote, “This above all, to thine own self be true….” But there is a balance needed, just as you say. Your last sentence is a classic, just about sums up this wild, wonderful scary journey we are all on. Best wishes..

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Rick June 18, 2013 at 11:53 am

Probably the biggest regret in my personal relationships is with my daughter. At the age of 21 she took her life. My regret is that I didn’t listen to the voice within telling me to go to the state she was living in and see her. I was too caught up in my selfishness. Whether I would have seen her state of mind or affected her actions, I will possibly never know.
But the lack of response to my intuition I do regret.

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Christopher Foster June 18, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Rick, your words are very moving and very tender. Thank you for sharing. I send you a lot of love as you continue on your way. One thing I have surely learned is that there is always a way forward, and difficult though life is at times, even the most tragic circumstances or events can help us grow and become more centered in our own immutable reality.

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Maureen Moeller June 18, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Oh Chris, I felt tears well up as I read your beautiful post on regret and forgiveness. I was picturing a bright eyed, curious and passionate young man saying goodbye to his parents @ the English train station; eager to find the answers to his burning quest for the meaning of life.

It recalled my oldest son, who signed up for the Army @ 19, leaving for Kuwait back in the 1990’s; he was going to be unreachable except by old fashioned mail for 6 months.

I could not comprehend my child so far away and unable to hear his voice for so long. Those were scary years; but life has come full circle now as he is 3 hours away with his wife and 3 beautiful children. As a mom of 3 sons, I learned young men must set out on their own, and I must freely surrender them to their life journey. Your mother
must have done the same, Christopher.

She wanted for you what you needed and yearned for. Your parents’ love was always with you as it is now. I know you have
forgiven yourself and released the regret; it was as it should be. Thank you for this heartfelt post; your words, as usual, are soothing and hope filled.

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Christopher Foster June 18, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Thank you so much for your very moving comment, Maureen. You have a way with words, for sure. I especially appreciate how your words are rooted in your own personal experience, it gives what you say real depth. I was with you as you said goodbye to your son. How happy I am that your son is now not only home safe and sound but is living so close. Best wishes to you and all your loved ones.

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Marisa June 20, 2013 at 10:05 am

Dear Christopher,
I read this yesterday and carried your words in my soul and spirit all day.
As a parent I wanted to embrace you, and reassure you that your parents knew your decisions were the absolute best for you. As a parent I can’t think of anything more marvelous than watching your child step away from the nest and find his/her way.
I wrote the words below for a young psychologist that is truly a guide for the soul and spirit. “Therapy” is a way of life and learning. I would like to share it with you as a “parent”, as well as a heart friend.

THERAPY

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Christopher Foster June 20, 2013 at 5:28 pm

I’m most thankful for your words Marisa, and deeply touched by them. There is a current of blessing in your words that reminds me once again how we really do need each other, and the gifts and nourishment that each one of us bring. Thank you especially for your poem. Yes. We are heart friends, and the ‘therapy’ of which you speak is indeed a way of life. Blessings to you Marisa.

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Marisa June 20, 2013 at 10:09 am

THERAPY

the day begins with hope
the evening brings peace
the understanding of truth
is something I can reach

the sorrow of the yesterdays
come softly into view
as the rainbows of today
bring beauty with its hues

trust and gratitude is visceral
guidance becomes a rare gift
knowledge of self acceptance
slowly removes tge rifts

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Sam June 22, 2013 at 5:15 pm

” And I feel the separation that did exist between us is healed.”

Good for you, but she died a lonely old woman. She did not have the benefit of the healing you say you received. This is a tragic one-sided tale, and it says noting of wisdom or understanding on your part.

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Christopher Foster June 22, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Thank you for your comment Sam. We all must honor our own perceptions. In this regard, I like to think my mother’s passing was a joyful experience, kind of like my first wife, Joy, who whispered to me, shortly before she passed, one word, “Home.”

I also like to think that my mother’s spirit was as perfect and unblemished when she died as it was when she was born.

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Vivek Baghel June 25, 2013 at 10:15 am

Hello Sir Christopher,
You are absolutely right with your words “It’s never too late to heal old wounds.” Your post is really great and it inspires me lot. Now I have become more serious about Life.

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Christopher Foster June 29, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Dear Vivek, I’m sorry for the delay in thanking you for your comment. It was good to hear from you. I wish you much success and happiness.

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