I have had an amazing time the past week with my family. A much needed reconnect. The interesting theme was everyone’s “sorry”.
“Sorry we can’t visit.” “Sorry there is nothing to do.” “Sorry we can’t hug.”
Funny how we take on the weight of “sorry” when we shouldn’t. As everyone was “sorrying”, little did they know I have held secret – a very deep sorry.
A huge fear growing up (which I still struggle with) is when I am out of sight I am out of mind. Forgotten until I’m there in person, on the phone or, yes, in a social media post. I know it’s from my childhood. Classic case of the “different” kid picked last in gym but picked on the rest of the day. I kept my head down and hurried along in hopes they wouldn’t see me. I would stay out of mind. I wanted to be included yet escape. In college, things calmed down but I couldn’t wait to start my career so I finished early for my dream job. Friends were upset I wouldn’t be there the last semester and when graduation day came around, the welcome back was a bit chilled. I had left and I lost meaning. Fears reinforced. Just dive into the career.
Years of working weekends, holidays, saying “yes” to strange hours and “no” to a normal social life all to build value. There were times I could have put work to the side and said “no” but in such a competitive field, if I took time away then I feared I would be forgotten and miss out on growth. I’ve reached an amazing goal now but was all I choose to give up necessary? Many times in my career I was present and still overlooked. There’s an even amount of responsibility spread across my doing and their withholding but, to the managers out there, keep in mind your decisions and just how heavy they can be on your staff. A seed won’t sprout with a thumb pushing it down. If a flower is failing, we don’t get a new flower. We caringly enhance its habitat to increase its chances of success. In animal training, all animals deserve us trying to set them up for success, but I digress.
I have also always dreamed about finding the one and getting married. There have been a handful of good tries but they ended up ending. Fears reinforced with the hardest ending of all, Clayton. In the other relationships, it was a choice to move on but with Clayton there was no expected exit.
My return home brought up that deep secret “sorry” that always weighed heavy on my heart – I left. I left my amazing family and friends. I left home to chase enchanted employment. I poured into an endless career cup and I missed so much. Perhaps I feel this because I’m widowed or that I wasn’t around to help my family more? The “what ifs” weigh heavy. “What if” I could have helped my father or does everything happen for a reason? The veil between guilt and grief lays thin. Perhaps I feel called to share these words because others hold this weight as well. We are taught to chase after our dreams, be successful and live happily ever after. What they don’t tell you is that the sacrifice you make leaving can haunt you.
So on this visit I returned back down my street, past the bus stop I was bullied at, to see the house I grew up in, the beach where my dad taught me how to skip stones and the park I would sit at dreaming of how wonderful life would be when I could leave. There I sat with 12 year old me acknowledging his fears and reassuring him that he has done his best. I told him that people leave and come back while others leave to make room for new people. I told him about all the amazing things that have happened in our life because he took the chance and I thanked him. Had that young kid stayed, I never would have met Clayton.
His decisions meant no harm and the time has come to forgive leaving…