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Image by Максим Степаненко

Letting Go

Upon moving my mother from assisted living into nursing home care

I watch her struggle to let go

of each piece of each memory

in all the belongings that must now leave her.

One small room is to be her life,

stuffed with the eclectic, cluttered beauty

of a lifetime of treasures and keepsakes, each with their own story to tell.

I stand with impatience and eyes blurry from exhausted, overwhelmed tears,

as we push her through cards, and letters, and mementos

and ask her to make choices that I now understand must feel to her like she is throwing a part of herself away.

I see her worn hands lovingly caress each and every cherished book before letting it go,

as though she is struggling to sear into memory its whisperings to her soul,

and my heart breaks for the pieces of herself that must feel as though they’re leaving in those pages.

I watch as she goes through her beloved knick knacks and special rocks,

each one with a story of meaning and significance, of beautification and journey,

and wish she didn't have to let go of so much of her being, and her heart's joy, yet again so soon.

We fight over clothes so we can shrink to a closet less than half of what she had,

because even though those clothes will never again fit,

they hold memories of joyful moments in time, moments that threaten to be forgotten once the evidence is no longer an open door away.

I watch as piece by piece she is forced to let go of more of herself, and more of her independence, for the umpteenth time in this last year of constant changes.

Giant step by giant step she has been forced to come to terms with what must be, and with little choice in the how’s and the where’s of needing care in her senior years.

My heart breaks for her continued pain of letting go, and when she isn't looking I cry enough tears for the both of us.

How can a lifetime of perfect imperfection,

of love, and joy and sorrow,

of hopes and dreams, and forging through disappointments and heartache,

of lessons and learning and teaching, of wisdom and understanding,

of pride and accomplishment, and forgiveness,

of selfless giving, mothering, and letting go,

of memories, mementos, and belongings that tell her magnificent story,

all be condensed into this final chapter of a small room with a view of the end?

It seems heartless on some level,

this reality of where she now must be in her life.  

She works toward acceptance and moves forward, searching hard for the comfort in her new normal

amongst the chaos of more change and continuing to learn to let go.

So now the most cherished of all she cherishes fits ever so snugly in her small room.

What to the unknowing eye may appear to be a hodgepodge of clutter,

is actually the rainbow of a life of loving, learning, giving, reinventing, and letting go,

in all its beautiful, vivid colors,

and the pot of gold that holds the ultimate treasure  – her beautiful, loving soul.

©Chris Colyer

January 11, 2016

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