A part of my healing journey has been to repair broken relationships.  Two relationships that I have been repairing are with both of my parents.  About a year ago, my parents and I got into an argument.  I felt violated and like my parental boundaries as a parent for my own children weren’t being respected and I stopped talking to my parents.  The details don’t really matter.  All that matters is that something happened, boundaries were crossed and communication ended.  This greatly hurt me as despite everything that happened, I still love my parents, very much.  There are two sides to every story and through the mess and my own hurt feelings, I try to see how I could have done things differently.  I only have control over myself and my own actions.

My parents have been on a cruise for the past 3 months in lieu of a nursing home.  They are able to get 1/2 off cruises and despite it sounding extravagant, it’s actually a very smart way to celebrate the end of your life.  My parents are able to get a 4 month cruise for $10,000.  My father has Alzheimer’s disease and his Assisted Memory Care is approximately $6,000 a month.  As you can tell, they were able to save money and be in a much more pleasant environment.  About 3 weeks ago, my parents were medically evacuated from the cruise ship because my father started to develop incontinence and he was defecating himself due to his disease.  My mother proceeded to make the challenging trip home from Hawaii where they had to leave the ship.  She stopped in Chicago to see my brothers and while downtown, my father boarded the EL Train and ended up an hour away in Bensenville, IL.  My mother had to file a missing persons report to try to find him.  Eventually she made it back to her home in Florida and had to put him into a home in Tampa near my older brother while she was selling her house in The Villages.  She also has Parkinson’s, Crohn’s disease, Edema and failing kidney’s with bad kidney stones.  She needed to move her belongings.  My brother was having an addition put on his house for her except he wasn’t expecting her for 4 more months and the room is still under construction.  His house had no room and my house had lots of room as I was preparing to move and was downsizing.  I had to make the decision, do I want to help my mother, the person who I was mad at for the past year.

After hearing about their failing health, I felt scared that they would pass and we wouldn’t have mended our relationship.  Yes we had a big fight that was terrible but throughout their life there were so many good memories too.  My partner didn’t want me to mend things because of the turbulence and he was trying to protect me.  I had to make the decision to call my mother and tell her that I would help.  

I tell her to drive to my house from Tampa and that I will help her with the move.  She stays with me for about a week and we talk and we cry and we hug and we apologize and we heal.  I feel like this is my spiritual work to step up and help my parents, forgive them and in the process I get to forgive myself.  If I expect Grace in my own life then I better be prepared to give it.  We prepare my house for all of her furniture.  We move everything here and my older brother will come in a few months to pick up the things from my parents house that he would like to keep when the construction is done.  In the process, I help my brother, my mother, my children get to know their grandmother and all of a sudden my anger is released.  I thank god for not taking them from me before we had a time to makeup.  

In the process of moving their belongings, the movers said they never saw so much customized furniture.  My father was the president of the Woodshop in The Villages and he customized everything.  Track lighting under the bed, storage shelves on wheels for under the bed, special boards to cover a nice oak table to protect it, and wood caricature dolls that hang off the string of the ceiling light , etc.  I remember how creative my dad is and I have flashbacks of him saying that he’s a happening dude.  I laugh as I move his stuff.  I see his inner child, his beauty.  I find his artwork, his incredibly organized tool bench with jars of screws all in different glass jars.  I love all his stuff.  My mother helps with with the whole move despite her painful kidneys.  The first day that she visits me, I have to take her to the ER for bleeding kidneys all night.  

After a week of working all day and night moving, we are able to visit my father.  My father loves to walk and I know he hasn’t been out of his home since he went in.  I think to myself, how can I move him home.  I am also in the middle of a move so this makes everything tricky!  I take my dad to the park with my mom and my kids.  My mom watches the kids play at the playground and I go for a walk with my dad.  I wrap my arm under his, he isn’t as sturdy as he used to be.  He’s afraid to leave my mother and she has to tell him it’s ok.  And we walk through the woods.  As my arm is wrapped under his, I reach for his hand and I hold him tight.  Even though he is losing some function with his brain, there is a bond between us.  The fight was between my mother and me and he was caught in the middle.  As we walk, I tell him that I’m sorry.  I hold back my tears because I want to be strong for him and I don’t want him to see how scared that I am.  My dad is calm and he is happy walking with me.  All of a sudden our time together is precious and I want more of it.  

Back at my house I continue to unpack my mother’s belongings and we begin to go through things.  Last night she held my son as he sleeps in her arms at night and this morning she reads to my daughter about fairy princesses and I’m content.  God gave me precious time to make amends and I can’t think of a more profound decision that I’ve had to make in my life.  I know that out of my four brothers and I, I will have to find the strength that I have in my yoga practice to the strength that I’m about to need having to take care of my sick parents and two small children.  

I think of the lyrics to Sara Bareilles song Hercules:

This is not the end though

‘Cause I have sent for a warrior

From on my knees, make me a Hercules

I was meant to be a warrior please

Make me a Hercules

This is my darkest hour

A long road has lead me out here

But I only need turn around to face the light

And decide to flight or fight

‘Cause I have sent for a warrior

From on my knees, make me a Hercules

I was meant to be a warrior please

Make me a Hercules

I also think of Dr Wayne Dyer’s advice, “You Have a Choice”.  “Rely on yourself, and be true to who you are.  What’s unique about you is what will take you far.  Don’t look to others to say you’re okay.  You know it – so believe it! – show your own self the way.  Don’t blame others for the things you say or do.  Every choice that you make is all up to you.”

I am my father’s child.  I am my mother’s daughter.  Somehow I am stronger than I think I am and as I look forward I have a confidence in myself that I never had before and I think to myself, “I got this”.  Thank you god for giving me the opportunity to make amends.  My heavy heart has been lifted and repairing my relationships with my parents has been so worth it.  If there is someone in your life that you are mad at but you still love them anyway.  I invite you to try to resolve things.  I invite you to find forgiveness in your heart.  I invite you to surrender because it’s hard to fight when one side surrenders.  This whole experience has completely taken me to my knees.  As my teacher Shelly would say…if god brings you down to your knees, stay there.  I have nothing but love in my heart for my parents and I am doing everything that I can to help them.  Peace, Grace, Forgiveness, Love!  Many blessings to you all as I have been blessed.