When my children were little, I thought of myself as the ultimate teacher and protector. As they grow older, I see that I am more often the learner and can only protect them through positive thoughts and prayers. Recently, my youngest daughter, Samantha, taught so many of us about love, endings and letting go.
Five years ago, family and friends gathered on Oahu’s beautiful North Shore to celebrate her marriage to her long time boyfriend and best friend. Everything about their wedding weekend was magical and filled with love and hope. This is the daughter who lives across the street from us, and we have taken many trips with the two of them. However, now as we approached this anniversary date five years later, love and hope have been replaced by sadness and disillusionment. He decided that he couldn’t stay in a committed relationship. At first, our daughter did everything possible to be the partner that he thought he wanted, but even though they were best of friends, she couldn’t help him find his way back to her, and she finally let him go.
She has always been the child who wore a strong protective armor so most of us were very surprised about the ending of this special relationship. Of course there were months of tears, anxiety and extreme sadness, but then she decided it was time to move on. She is blessed by a wonderful sharing group of supportive friends and family who have helped her realize it’s important to share and be vulnerable.
As the date approached, she seemed strong and confident, but I ached for her and kept her constantly in my thoughts and prayers. The night before the anniversary soon to be erased from all our calendars, her presence was so strong that I couldn’t sleep. Finally, I gave up and reached for my phone. I never check emails in the middle of the night, but for some reason I did. And there was her email that forever changed how we would deal with the ending of this marriage.
Then she asked us to hold our loved ones and spend time reflecting why we loved them. She asked us to put a little of that love in our palm and release it for both of them so they could move on in “peace, forgiveness, and resolve” as they moved forward in each of their separate journeys.”
Her style and spirit flowed out of the letter, and I felt such pride in her strength and sweet vulnerability.
Raymond and I did walk to the beach, hold each other, and put some, actually a lot, of love in our palms to complete her wish.
I have to admit Raymond had a little harder time than I did with forgiveness. After all, it’s his baby girl and the protection part is really strong. He kept having a vision of a skunk and this young man in the road and only being able to save one, and let's just say it didn’t have a good ending for the young man. However, he has always been able to move past anger and disappointments, so I have great faith that he’ll rework this vision too.
Whoever said, “It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all” might be right, but the losing is so hard. Some of my hardest lessons have been about letting go of anger and hurt, and Samantha taught me so much about letting go. She says she is moving forward, and I’m so happy to be able to continue on this journey with our smart, stylish, spirited daughter with that great big heart. .