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Her Way

I remember being a young girl. Being adopted by a lovely woman who became my mother. While, at the same time, having the introduction of an abusive father.

I remember the kindness she gave me. The kindness, her way of mending all the pain.

She would later become sick. Being too physically ill to feel confident to leave him, she showed me her kindness. She showed me, in the world, there was a difference. She made sure I was aware of both sides. Showing me she was the ying to his yang. While acknowledging his darkness, also exposing her light.

Unfortunately, as that young girl, how I dealt with it all was building an inner wall of protection. While seeing her kindness, and his rage, I began to protect myself from both. Not fully trusting of either. Never meaning to block her out. My intention was mainly to block him. But once that wall was built, it wasn’t translucent. There wasn’t a door that voluntarily swung open. It couldn’t be knocked down and rebuilt on a whim. Once it was built, it had to stay.

Keeping her and her kindness away further than was intended.

When she passed away, I was devastated. Not only because I would never feel her love or warmth, her support, her person, but I would never again experience her kindness. Her ying to the worlds cold, cruel yang.

I began regretting that fucking wall.

That wall that kept her distant instead of absorbing her in her fullness.

That fucking wall that made me question if she ever knew how much I loved her. How much she meant. How much her kindness meant. How much her light lit up my world. Too guarded and protected to ever show her how important she was. How deeply loved she was.

I lived in regret and shame. I grew so cold. Her kindness only a memory. Something I would never see again.

I wanted to take a hammer and shatter my wall like glass. Demolish it, blow it out, into a million sliver of pieces that would crumble and disintegrate into shards. Nothing left but shiny particles on the ground that reflected light when caught in the right angle. Then, I wanted someone close to help with the human size void she left behind within me.

I broke the wall toward my older sister and her friends. They had their own demons, their own wounds, their own ways of medicating. I saw the similarities in our voids. I thought I could love them out of it. The way my mother loved me.

If I showed them the same kindness she showed me, I could impact them the way she did me. I could keep a part of her alive.

A living amends to prove her impact that what she said and did mattered. I saw her. Even though I never told her while she was alive. I would live life her way now, hoping, praying , she would see how much she meant. She would somehow feel it from beyond the grave.

But no matter what I did, they didn’t seem to notice. No matter if I gave them all my money, if I gave them all my attention, how much I showed and said how important they were. Or how much I gave up. Dropping out of school, sports, spending all my time trying to be kind and hoping for love in return.

Nothing worked. I wasn’t sure if the wall I had built was permanent or if I wasn’t enough.

I wanted to stop being kind. It didn’t matter. It wasn’t making an impact. It wasn’t filling the void. It wasn’t leading to love. It wasn’t replacing her.

Until I realized, it was making an impact, in some way. It did matter. To me. But what also mattered was the people receiving it.

Maybe they were more like me than I had thought. Maybe they were just as wounded. Maybe they too had walls. Maybe I was forever unnoticed, or maybe, like me, that kindness had an impact but they were too protected or guarded to show.

I thought about my own regrets. I thought about my mother. How differently I would have ended up if I didn’t have her. How cold the world would have been without her warmth. How much her ying mattered to the yang that seemed so powerful. How dark my life would have been if she ever stopped being so kind.

Her kindness mattered. It changed my life. It showed me another way. A way I didn’t have to be but a light I could follow. Her kindness showed me I had a choice. I had a choice in which way to live. Which way to be. Which way felt better.

A kindness she passed on to me. Her kindness was a gift. Although she showed me a choice in the world, her kindness wasn’t my choice not to share. It was my duty. My amends. A way a life I learned from her. A way of life I want to be as my mother’s daughter.

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