To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
It’s nearing the one year anniversary of my Dad’s passing away ~ and we are all grieving at different stages in our family. It’s interesting to me how life has evolved since he died. When I can observe our little threesome ~ Mom, my sister and me, I can view how it’s affected us all. The tentacles of his death have wrapped around each of us in different ways ~ pulling and pushing our strengths and weaknesses ~ all the while, forcing us to grow, to be patient and to be more tolerant and understanding of eachother’s foibles.
It’s been a long year thus far and Mom’s acutely aware of the approaching date which marks one year since he passed away. In fact, the other day, she blithely stated, “I guess he’s really not coming back,” which caught me unaware. For you see, in my head, I am thinking, “Of course he’s not coming back Mom ~ he’s dead ~ he’s in that little urn/box at your house…you know this so what are you saying?”
But in my heart, the strings that tie me to her vulnerability, simple croak out in a soft voice, ” I know Mom. It’s been a long time,” and we bond. We bond because I know she is just saying what she’s thinking ~ without measuring it against what is known. She just allows herself to voice how she feels and in that vulnerability, I find empathy, I find understanding…I listen with my heart and not my head.
Isn’t that all we want in life? For someone to listen with their hearts to us ~ to bond heart to heart ~ even when perhaps we are not expressing the obvious, but the subtlety of how we are feeling? Instead of being angry at her for not getting it which I know she does, I am lending her a wing until she can find a way to fly again, simply by getting the pain she’s endured since he passed away.
Because she’s been left alone ~ a broken little bird, lost without her other ‘wing.’ She’s been a trooper, living alone for a year when she’d never lived alone in her life. She’s taken on many responsibilities that she’s never had. As a team, my sister and I have taken on many responsibilities as well simply because we are a family ~and because we listen with our hearts.
As that little Disney Stitch character says,
“Ohana means family and family means no one gets left behind.”
Today, when handling others, listen with your heart to the words spoken and unspoken.
You make a difference ~ one heart at a time.
P.S. Mom I’m so proud of you! ♥