Past, Present and Future

Past, Present and Future

I’m sitting here at my desk, listening to the distant rumble of thunder. While looking out the window at the darkening sky, I am jolted from my reverie by the sudden, intrusive grind of an electric saw.

There have been numerous times when I have had sudden flashbacks of the trauma of being evicted from my grandchildren’s lives. Like the unwelcome noise of the saw, these thoughts and feelings come unbidden and jolt me out of the present into the past.

It doesn’t do any good to revisit past events. I have already done enough of that. I’ve worked through a mountain of grief, anger and despair. I’ve learned many lessons. Going back into the ‘story’ and anything attached to the estrangement just brings me down. By abandoning the present moment, I fall into the deep hole that has taken me so long to climb out of.

A friend recently coined a phrase: “You can’t undo the past, but the past can undo you.” So true. The past will undo me if I continue to beat myself up by trying to make sense of it all.

Estrangement and alienation from our kids and grandkids is the 500 pound gorilla sitting not only in the room, but weighing down our hearts. It’s there, it probably isn’t going away any time soon, so we might as well get used to it. If we work on getting stronger by pumping some serious emotional and mental iron, we can ignore it and get on with our lives.

The quality of my thoughts and attitudes determine what kind of life I live.

Thinking about the future too much causes worry and anxiety. Aside from the inevitable details that need to be in place as we age, I see no upside to sanctioning fears or fantasies about the future. Que sera, sera.

Life is spectacular when I remember to be mindful of the moment. I am lighter, calmer, more compassionate. I’m able to listen, to be more present. I am more allowing of people, their strengths and frailties. Everything is sweeter, whether it’s sharing a belly laugh with a friend or feeling the breeze on my arms while walking on a summer evening. When I am in the now, taking life on its own terms, it becomes almost unbearably precious.

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.

― Buddha

12 thoughts on “Past, Present and Future”

  • I’m so glad that you have trusted friends and your sister. Yes, I have family and friends who have supported me for many years and I am eternally grateful for their love and compassion.

  • Nancy, thank God for good friends and my only sister who have been my strength and helped me when I’ve wanted to just quit. They know me well, my strengths, my weaknesses, the dumb mistakes I’ve made and they love and support me all the same. I’m single by choice so no spouse but that’s OK for me. It’s so important to have outside voices of reason to confirm that I haven’t done anything to deserve this. I hope you have people in your life who do the same, I’m sure you do.

  • Wow – Lora, you write so eloquently! I love “parking in the pain.” I, too, got sick this week and fell into the hole. Being sick just makes everything worse and it all feels hopeless. It would be a good idea to ask a trusted friend (or spouse, relative) to remind you (when you’re sick), that illness makes everything darker and that when you’re better, you’ll feel better. And, keep looking at your tattoo! I agree that healing from the pain of estrangement isn’t a straight road. There are dizzying ups and downs and it can be pretty discouraging at times. But good for you for walking around the lake and energizing your body and mind! I hope you’ll continue to keep me posted. I care very much and send you strength and blessings.

  • When I clicked on your blog this morning to show my childhood friend that I’m visiting I didn’t expect to see a second July entry – what a welcome read ~ I wish I had read it on Thursday. As I’ve shared with you before, I’m making great progress in my own estrangement journey but after having a severe ear infection this week, losing sleep and getting run down, I fell into that hole Thursday night and quickly resorted to begging God to just stop my heart from beating because the pain from missing my grandson was unbearable. I should have recognized the warning signs and taking preemptive actions but I ignored them. The good news is that after crying myself to sleep, and sleeping really sound for the first time in a week, I got up Friday morning, put on my walking clothes and bombed around the 3 mile lake trail shaking off the anger, the pain and ending my pitty party. Six months ago I would have stayed in bed all weekend. This journey is never going to be an easy one but as long as we’re moving forward and not “parking in the pain” we will live good and happy lives. Lesson; stay in tune with my instincts especially when I’m sick.

  • I think we share the same brain 🙂 once again, Nancy, your thoughts and progress run an uncanny parralel to my own. Thank you for continuing to share your journey it affirms mine.

  • I appreciate your blog so much, your perspective is beautiful. Getting through this and feeling alive again really requires a mindful presence and determined heart. Dealing with estrangement for five years, I’m seeing a shift in estranged parents’ blogs and support sites- more self-respect and acceptance, less groveling and eggshell-walking. Happiness is a choice and I’m just finding my place in this beautiful world again. Your posts are inspiring. So grateful…

    • Thanks so much, Diana. It’s good that we parents are getting stronger -it takes a long time and a lot of work to get to that point, but there really is more to life than just our kids and grandkids, much as their absence pains us. Yes, happiness is a choice and I’m so glad to hear that you are choosing to be mindful and determined. The only other option is to live in sadness and depression, and what a waste that would be!

  • Such truth and wisdom in these words, thank you. it’s so hard when the hurt runs so deep, I know this, but it’s the only way to live life, otherwise it’s just a miserable existence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *