The Hardest Things to Write

Sometimes, they bring the most healing.

When I was 17, my parents separated. At 18, they divorced. Less than a week later, my father was re-married. The next 12 years of my life consisted of sadness, attempts to rise from the sadness, giving in to the sadness, and being surrounded by the sadness.

I don’t want to be sad anymore.

I will always be sad for the pit bulls and other animals that have invaded my heart. I will always be sad for the homeless people, and will probably continue to cry when I see one standing on a corner, holding a sign, hoping for their own sign of humanity. I will always be sad when children die too young, when parents die too soon, when families lose their loved ones to war and hatred.

But I don’t want to be sad that my parents aren’t together, because honestly, I’m not! I don’t want to be sad that my family was ripped apart and still manage to cut each other to pieces at every available chance. But it happened, it sucked, it’s DONE.

It’s only done if everyone allows it to be.

One thing my husband struggles with is why this sadness never leaves my side. I have told him many times, I stand firm with my decision to not have my mother in my life, yet will always be sad about the fact. He sometimes shakes his head, forever standing by his mantra of “Choose to be happy, choose to be sad.” And he’s finally starting to understand that he never will understand.

I don’t want him to ever understand.

I refuse to think of myself as someone who chooses to be sad. No one wants that on their “About Me” list. Yet there is it, always walking beside me, trying to hold my hand, whispering in my ear, making me just want to sleep.

And then come the holidays! *laugh* A time of joy, of family, of generosity, of reminiscing. A time to pinch the grandkids’ cheeks and tell the nephew how tall he has grown.

A time to be proud of that raise at your job, the two beautiful dogs that you rescued from death, the happiness you feel every day with the love of your life, the precious friends that stood by you through so much, and the very few family that love you unconditionally.

And there I stood, permitting the sadness to creep in again. It didn’t completely take over, for I have grown too strong for that. But not strong enough to squash it completely.

Sometimes, it just takes words to get you back on the right path. My mom and I have exchanged more anger-filled emails than I can count, but this time, it was different. This time, it was an email to my aunt, and my aunt is one of those precious few that love me unconditionally.

Reading words of anger about me instead of to me shook something in my heart. Then the puzzle pieces started to dance in the air, magically falling to the desk and aligning right where they should be.

She will always put herself before her children. She will never beat down my door and tell me she was wrong, even if it is said to just get that “one more chance” to talk. She will always find fault with my writing. She will always resent me for having close relationships with others, unless she deems them acceptable. She will always bring sadness to my life and to my heart, and if I don’t want to live my life that way, I’m the one that has to close the door.

I never wanted to write these words, because I never wanted to hurt the people I love. Sometimes, in order to find your own healing, others get hurt. Too many people have hurt me in order to find their own happiness.

So now it can be done. The sadness will never fully leave, but at least there can be a smile through the tears, because I know I have done my best.

From now on, the bar is a lot higher. I’m expecting the best from the people in my life, instead of always waiting for the hurt.

And sometimes the hardest things to write turn out the be the easiest.

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8 thoughts on “The Hardest Things to Write

  1. Very powerful Jenn. Thanks for sharing. This opens the doors for a lot of people going through the same thing. In my family, my brother and sister don’t talk to me. The best thing to do is to forgive for you, not for them. You won’t forget, but you will no longer be their victim. Be strong and surround yourself with positive people. Throughout my life, I found that a little distance from outrageous family members, goes a long way in healing. For those of use who bond with animals, it is very healing that they are our family members who love us unconditionally.

    Susan

    • Jen Hurowitz says:

      Thank you so much for commenting, Susan. It’s nice to see you here! I hope people can read this and get something from it, even if it’s painful. I’m sorry about your family situation. I feel that the healthier I am, the less certain family members want to do with me. And you are so right, forgiveness is for ME, not for THEM. And I couldn’t agree with this more: “For those of use who bond with animals, it is very healing that they are our family members who love us unconditionally.”

  2. Anne Katherine says:

    Jen, I do understand, unfortunately.
    My parents parted ways when I was 18 months old.
    And because I know many people who have fared as you have, any time I know of any couple even thinking of getting a divorce, I tell them to do so sooner rather than later because the older kids get the more devastating it is on so many levels. My sister was 4 years older than I and it affected her much more.
    I so admire you for having the strength to actually write about this. It is so hard dealing with selfish people and so easy to get caught up in all the drama and lose sight of the things that are most important. I am so glad you have not lost sight of the really important things.

    • Jen Hurowitz says:

      Thank you so much, Anne. Your words are always very comforting to me. Being the oldest, I do feel my parents’ divorce affected me more, but my biggest regret was the way we all just let it keep going. Once I decided to let things go and move on, other family relationships started to suffer. I can’t seem to win! So I don’t try to win anymore…I just let the people in that don’t tear me down at every chance. And the people that do, well they aren’t exactly beating my door down, so I’ll try to just focus on the positive aspect of that.

  3. Paula says:

    “It’s only done if everyone allows it to be.” I found this to be very profound.

    Whenever we talk about all our personal issues, my sister and I like to joke that we are the products of our parents having stayed together. 🙂 All kidding aside, I can relate on some level, because my Mom and I have a very rocky relationship. Why is it always harder to forgive your parents when they hurt you, than it is to forgive anyone else?

    But I’m glad that you ended on this positive note:

    “I’m expecting the best from the people in my life, instead of always waiting for the hurt.”

    • Jen Hurowitz says:

      Thank you, Paula. I agree with “Why is it always harder to forgive your parents when they hurt you, than it is to forgive anyone else?” I will never understand it. I guess I have this fairy-tale version of life in my head, where a parent does anything, ANYTHING, for their child. But I’m not a parent, so I guess I won’t know that feeling until I am. I’m glad your parents stayed together…that is just way too rare these days! 🙂

  4. Dayle Lynne says:

    ::Hugs::

    This was a powerful post, Jen. My father and I went 5 years without speaking to each other. No emails, phone calls . . . though I’d occasionally send a letter in the mail that would never get a response. At family functions we’d sit a few feet away from each other and not speak.

    In my head, I knew that it was probably a good thing . . . that it was better than the constant hurt I’d feel when he talked down to me. But I don’t think we ever truly grow out of needing our parents to be there for us . . . and when they’re not, it hurts.

    I love this line – “The sadness will never fully leave, but at least there can be a smile through the tears, because I know I have done my best.”

    • Jen Hurowitz says:

      Thank you, Dayle. I didn’t speak to my father for about 6 years and we are slowly re-building our relationship. Now that my mom and I aren’t speaking, I feel completely lost.

      “But I don’t think we ever truly grow out of needing our parents to be there for us . . . and when they’re not, it hurts.”

      Bingo.

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