Here is the complete question from a reader:
My Mother died today. But before she died she asked for me to come to visit. This is a woman who abandoned me when I was six and I did not hear another word from her until last week. Not only did I not go to her deathbed I am not planning to attend her funeral. What should I do?
In spite of your “abandonment” you were loved and are loved. First things first, I share your grief in the loss of your mother. It is apparent that you care about her and possibly question your decision to stay away even after she asked you to visit. The pain you feel from being excluded from her life is natural and well understood. You should grieve through all the stages. Some writers, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her seminal work Death and Dying being one, list five stages of grief while others (recover-from-grief.com) define bereavement in seven stages. I suggest that you take time NOW to familiarize yourself with these stages for deeper understanding of your response to your Mother’s death.
Before you decide whether or not to attend the funeral, I want you to go to a quiet still place where you are alone and can stay there for at least thirty (30) minutes. Once you are in this place, I want to you to repeat this:
I am love and can express and give agape love. I know love and have been given love. I forgive all those who did not or could not love me as I expected. I accept love.
Repeat this often until you satisfy your yearning for acceptance and love. Repeat this healing mantra through your tears. Repeat each word over and over again until you see a light of change and feel free from your past angry reaction to hurt. Repeat these words again and again believing in an omnipresent love that has shadowed you from the second of your conception until now.
We tell ourselves many stories about love or its absence and accept “pouting” behavior as a punitive response to our mind-talk of despair and pain. Stop the litany of hurt, banish the mental anguish of punishment (which you impose upon yourself instead of the other person) and find love. Go to your birth state of mind, where there is no pain, resentment, anger or bitterness. Go back to where you only knew the pure realms of love. Go to your inner knowing of grace. Drink deep of the elixir of the certainty of boundless love.
Repeat I accept love, I am love, I forgive, I give love …..even as you hyperventilate through your resistance. Forgive your Mother, the one you carried you to birth to live this life of peaceful inner happiness, right NOW. You have allowed the destructive spirit of un-forgiveness to wipe out your truer love for her. Clear out the bitterness NOW. In spite of the pain, in spite of the loss of relationship with your Mother, in spite of your disappointment for not getting the love you expected from her, forgive and release right now.
We have all all been torn by pain, but the bounty is that you are still alive and have this time to forgive and forgo.
Love yourself NOW, love your Mother NOW. Open your heart to acceptance of her choice, which was not what you wanted. Maybe you will never know why or the myriad of reasons that seemed rational to her at the time. Whatever the case, your learning lesson for NOW is to openly forgive. You cannot recover one lost second of time, so dwelling on the past will never alter the choice you can make right now.
When you have gone through clearing your pain, then ask your heart what should you do. You are free from the agony of pestering doubt, you are released from the daggers of being left alone, you no longer carry anger and fear; you can only love your Mother from the presence of now. Right now, you know exactly what the loving thing you must do. Whichever choice you make at this point-when your heart is covered with love-is the precious right thing for you to do.
“One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love.” ~Sophocles
As you go into bereavement and are considering whether to attend the ritual of her funeral, be thankful. Have a heightened sense of thanks; take time to “be there” in radiant love. Give thanks for the eruption of your repressed emotions. Take time to honor those who did or tried to love you as you expected them to. Reflect on what is good for you in your life and magnify that goodness to the ten thousandth degree. Illuminate the world with your goodness, brighten the corner where your are…right now.
I know that what I am saying is hard to accept at times especially when you feel the right thing is to hold on to the past. But detach, go out and render service, give a caring hand to someone without expectation of reciprocal returns. Get away from your self; give love whether large or small and cherish the moment. Exhibit your love. Have a love that surpasses all understanding. Lay all your affairs in the restful loving spirit of peace. Do this for your Mother and for yourself. Offer kindness and empathy to someone who may be downtrodden.
Then truly speak loving prayers for the progress of her soul. Nothing is permanent, even death for that umbilical cord of shared oneness will never end.
Accept your emotional dichotomy and move on to acting out love in all ways and always. Be noble, know your love and be love. Love is the only permanent answer.