Wired to Fight

We always want to protect those we love, don’t we? Grief generally feels like it’s about us – our pain; our void; our not knowing how to get by – but many parts of it stem from the fierce instinct to protect our loved one. I had no idea this was true until recently.

It was almost the third anniversary of losing her; I was outside pushing a lawnmower, earbuds in, enjoying some time with my thoughts. I don’t want to say I heard a voice… it was more that some words interrupted my daydreaming. There were only two of them: I’m okay. The phrase wasn’t audible, but it certainly felt outside of my own thought process. It brought to mind a picture of my mom – peaceful and calm, looking at me with a smile, repeating, I’m okay.

It wasn’t as mystical of an experience as it may sound, but the words carried a lot of power. They offered me a reassurance that I didn’t know I needed. It hit me that for three years I’d been unable to let go of the fear I’d felt for her. It wasn’t conscious, but I’d been fervently trying to protect her since she closed her eyes that day, clenching on to things that would have affected her here on earth, carrying them as my own battles. It would pain her to miss this, she would be hurt by those words, it would break her heart for us to move on in that way… Is she at peace? Can she see us? Is she okay with what we’re doing?

Jennelle, I’m okay.

I believed it.

We are wired to fight for our own, it is perhaps one of the most beautiful human qualities. But, with loved ones lost and loved ones still around us, there is also a time at which we need to let go; to know that we are not the hero – we are not in control. No matter how hard it is to believe, we must know that things outside of our power are sometimes more powerful than us – sometimes the brave thing is to let go of the fight.

Releasing these things has allowed me the space to confront my own battle (a very scary, messy lot of fears). Instead of fighting for two of us, I am able to accept the idea of her walking along side of me, helping me to navigate the course. I am free to keep living; to keep moving forward, and even to enjoy it.

Mom & I

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18 thoughts on “Wired to Fight

  1. You and your Mom. That bond will never be broken. Your sweet picture shows it so clearly…such love in both of your eyes. I like the thought of her walking along beside you. I think she is…cheering you on.

  2. So beautifully written Jennelle. I have truly missed your words. Nice to have you back! What a crazy yet amazing experience to have sensed her telling you ‘I’m okay”. It blows my mind those moments that hit us. Did you ever have a chance to read mine with Zach that happened a few weeks ago? I still have chillbumps thinking about it, but it was oddly comforting.

    Absolutely love this sentence, “No matter how hard it is to believe, we must know that things outside of our power are sometimes more powerful than us – sometimes the brave thing is to let go of the fight.”. You are absolutely right.

    1. Krista, your experience with Zach a little while ago is so intense and amazing! I’m so glad that you felt him that way… It is an interesting journey trying to get a feel for where they are now and if/how they can communicate with us. I’m starting to think it’s best to just let signs and signals be true without automatically snuffing them out with doubt. Always grateful for your support xo

  3. Jennelle, your Mom wanted to look after you, just like moms need to. I believe that she is in a place more beautiful than we could ever imagine, and she is definitely OK. And she is still looking after you.

  4. Great post. I can so relate, as I fought for my mom when she was battling cancer, even though there was nothing I could really do except offer love and support. About a year ago, I believe my mom sent me a dream to let me know that she is ok and at peace. I’ve gotten further confirmation of this since that dream. I know that my mom is ok and all that she wants is for me to be ok and at peace. Slowly, I am getting there.

    1. It is so neat to hear these stories of people receiving messages of peace from the people they have lost! I’m so glad you experienced this with your mom, Kathy. I know that it’s still hard to move past it and really let the worry go, but it’s a comfort that we are all on this track together. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. I have been checking your blog on a regular basis and missed your posts. You have such a beautiful way of expressing yourself and I am enriched by your thoughts about grief and love.

    I also read the blogs by Kathy and Krista on a regular basis and have shared so many of the feelings all of you express. I lost my Mom 2 1/2 years ago and still grapple with the NOW that is so changed from the BEFORE. Keep writing and know that you are not alone!

    1. Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words, Angie. I’m so sorry to hear that you are traveling down this road too. It sounds like we lost our moms around the same time… Keep in touch and great to connect with you.

  6. I loved your blog. My mum died from ovarian cancer twenty years ago but it doesn’t seem that long! For ages afterwards I used to dream that she was with me again and it was so comforting. And sometimes I would see someone in the street who looked like her and my heart would woud leap. I don’t think you ever really get over the loss of a mother though,as the bond is so strong.

    I am now sixty one but this year I have had two narrative non-fiction books accepted for publication in the UK. It makes me cry to think my darling mum is not here as she would be so proud. However, my first book has this dedication; ‘To the memory of my mother Myra, whose spirit, humour and love of history had such a positive effect on my life.’
    Mum is present in everything I write.

    1. Thanks for reading Pauline, I appreciate your comments and I find it helpful to hear from those who are further down the road in the journey. I relate when you lament that your mom is not around to see your successes in your writing career – my mom was my biggest fan as well! I don’t know if you experience this, but sometimes, just for a second, I think to pick up the phone and tell her good news. I’m sure your mom is proud of all you have done, I wish you much luck with your books (I have connected with your author’s page on Facebook). Take care!

  7. Im going back and reading old blogs Jennelle cause I just love your brain :) I read the book Lovely Bones not that long ago because it was a book our kids at the Children’s Home was reading. It touched me in a way I did not expect and took me a long time to get through it because of the emotion it brought out of me. It has an interesting perspective though.

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