Monday, September 14, 2009

I was reading today, a site I have visited many times, and have had many different reactions to. I used to abhor it. All of it. Now I find it affirming, uplifting, and good.

I thought unschooling was risky and freaky and irresponsible and, frankly, a back-door excuse/explanation for why it was okay to "not educate" your kids and let them "run the household". I had physical reactions such as fear, and sadness, at the thought of Trusting The Children, and it has taken me 7 solid years of parenting children who don't go to school to admit and fully grasp just how much of my adult existence has been based on doing what I have deemed "Impressive", or "What Looks Good". To whom, exactly, I was never able to really admit. That one piece of the puzzle was just out of reach for me, and no amount of meditation, prayer, or wondering really ever seemed to put the answers fully within my grasp. Who Am I Trying To Impress?
Is It Working?
If this person is indeed impressed, what was the cost?

I knew and yet I didn't know, but one of those people was my mom. I also knew but didnt know, that when she died, there would be a new level of self actualization and although I tried tried tried to just live my life and do what felt right while she was still alive, I couldn't.

Now that she is gone, there is a void and a wide open slate and moving about in this new realm has been a very new experience.

Last week, the other very important adult in my life, my beloved Grandmother, died. She was 84, had breast cancer, and we knew she wasnt doing super well, but the death was rather sudden and definitely a shock. Her funeral was out of state and I had about 3 days notice and could not go. I am upset about alot of details about what has happened to my family tree and all the open ended lack of funerals or gravesights. I am trying to heed every Hallmark admonition to let peoples memories live on by living out their intended goodness, and to let go of guilt and material possessions and longings for the kinds of goodbyes that I might have envisioned. (Accept the things we cannot change, etc?)

But now with mom and grandma gone (Ow its hard to type that) I am really, really on my own. Funny for a girl who left home at 17 to say something like that, but these 2 women were the voices in my head. I allowed that. I created that. And it just so happens that they weren't too keen on homeschooling or many of the things I believe so strongly in. And it just so happens that I simply was not able to not let it matter to me. I tried.

Now they are gone, and reality is clearer for me. These are my children, and living in radical freedom is serving them extraordinarily well. I will devour Home Education Magazine, sit back, rest, mourn, and feel 100% okay to let them flourish.

Enjoy this article, great reading suggestions, and kiss your loved ones tonight. Death really will touch your life, not to be morbid, just to be present and aware. Let appreciation wash over you, and above all, do not be afraid to respect your children. It has nothing to do with you being the adult, nor does it threaten your authority. You have natural authority by virtue of being the parent. I have stopped chiming in little "helpful"admonitions and have taken on the role of a guiding observer with the children as of late, and it has been an honor.

Rest In Peace, beautiful precious Grandma. Your love and respect for me as a child will never be forgotten. I know we disagreed about homeschool, but I always understood why. Your spirit is with me constantly,( forcing me to rethink everything I thought about that sort of thing!!!) I love you so much.


Kelley said...

I love the idea of spreading our nets are far as possible so we can learn as much as possible about what will work best for our families. I'll freely admit I'm still figuring that out and that I haven't found the absolutely perfect thing yet. That said, though, I do think I'm on the right track.

It sounds like things are going swimmingly at your house, though I'm very sad to hear about your grandma. One of mine died abotu 2 1/2 years ago, and it is STILL hard to imagine the world without her.

Michelle said...

Joy- It's never too late to create the kind of ritual that will support our grief and help us process the loss. A funeral or memorial service is a critically important piece of finding our way, of making the loss "real" for us at a deeper level; it allows us to say "good bye" not only to the person we have lost, but to all that is incomplete in the relationship. A good friend of mine had a gathering of friends/family in her home 3 months after her mother died. She created an alter space, decorated it with flowers, pictures, lovingly chosen objects of meaning and she wrote a service for her mother that held great meaning for her, as well as for the family members and friends who gathered (including me). The gathering included a "circle" time where we passed the talking stick and shared our memories of her mother, as well as feelings, thoughts, prayers and even a lot of painful regrets and anger and "stormy" hurt expressed by my friend and her siblings. After the circle, there was food, drink, songs, and even some dancing around the alter; it was very beautiful and healing for everyone. This is but one example and I would urge you and your sister to think about creating something that is meaningful for you both, and your families, and having the "service" or memorial gathering--a Blessing Way on the Path to Eternity--for your mum and grandma that you want to have. You know that I'll help any way I can with whatever you want but don't let that go by the wayside if you need to do something like this!

Beyond that, you are experiencing the deep healing and growth that "life" and yes, death, brings. Much of it will be painful and difficult but the wonderful and astonishing thing about it all is that it's a cycle; life always brings death always brings new life; we see it everywhere around us in nature and we are very much a part of that cycle. Grieve well, my darling girl, and know that so many people are with you.

emjaybee said...

My mom died this year too, just in April. And it was the same; I miss her, but I also felt some freedom, which made me feel guilty. But I truly have no one that I worry about disappointing anymore, and that is a kind of freedom.

Now I have to work to be sure my son will feel that freedom while I'm still alive. Here's hoping.