I tried to be good. Learned young that if I was just good enough, she might not yell. She might not call me names or hurt my feelings or hide her love away. She might see my worth and love me well or at least let me be.
So instead of true and brave, I became false and afraid. Learned young to pretend, to lie if need be. To only survive, never to thrive.
I buried my voice beneath layers of deceit, a smile on my face, never truly at home in any place.
I swept my heartache away, hiding my thoughts and my feelings, until one day I fell apart for a little while. All the sweeping couldn’t keep the floor clean anymore with broken pieces everywhere.
And so I let go and let life strengthen me. No matter how much it hurt, I kept going and growing. To rebuild my life.
And now she is worn out and weak and needs my help. Sometimes old hurts linger and I cannot forget, but most days I feel forgiveness and compassion. She has her own story of hurts swept away.
With a gratefully healed heart, I spend time by her side. I drive her down rural roads, while she recalls stories of the best days of her life. I wish they were tales of mother love. But, instead she revels in her own glory. Then I remember. She is broken and I am whole, and we are two sides of the same coin.
The simple acts service I give, with kindness and love, they sweep away her hurts and mine. I’ve passed on from the little girl I used to be, and I see clearly that hard times are often blessings in disguise.