The Broken Necklace
Sometimes, the best way to heal a relationship is to walk away from it. That way, you heal yourself.
My mother passed away from a stroke two years ago in June. What was to come however, proved to be equally painful. My sisters and I had barely spoken in the last ten years. There was bitterness and anger over my father’s passing and possessions. I am the “sensitive” one in the family and consequently, because I also happen to be shy and deprecating, the most walked on and abused as a child. I saw an old friend at the funeral and she commented that, I was “wired for it.” She had seen it all along. Apparently, she wasn’t the only one.
As the proceedings of my mom’s estate unfolded, I was to learn the hard way, the depth and breadth of greed and self-centeredness that would sap my energy and drain me of any thoughts of love and kindness until I could lick my wounds and heal. I needed to distance myself from the herd and I needed to do it swiftly. Two of my three sisters were in cahoots to ensure that any of the valuable spoils be shared between the two of them, the theory being that we (me and my eldest sister) didn’t help. Of course, we weren’t allowed.
I asked for what I wanted – my mom’s wedding ring, some family photos, and a gold cross necklace. There were also some dishes that were for my daughter. Those I received. My mom collected jewelry and had a lot of valuable trinkets. In fact, the entire contents of my mom’s home went into one sister’s home and a few more expensive things went to the other sister. This was all before my mom passed. The lawyer called it stealing. She was correct.
I went to the trust company to collect a box of photos and the remainder of the Lavender Rose dishes that were left to my daughter. When I opened the box of pictures, there was a plastic bag taped to the lid. Inside was a gold cross necklace, and it was broken. It wasn’t even the one I wanted, but rather, a cheaper plated version. The pictures were leftover junk. While leafing through the double exposed photos, and some of people I didn’t know, something so much more valuable than any piece of jewelry presented an opportunity to grow. I treasure my lesson and my love for my mother every day.
The broken necklace was a cruel reminder of the relationship I had had with my siblings
from a very young age. I learned to value myself even though they never did. As long as I was the doormat, the relationship was intact. I chose to walk away and it was the healthiest thing I’ve ever done. I sobbed at the crushing pain of it all, but I got through it.
Sometimes a relationship needs to end in order for you to heal. It doesn’t matter if someone is a relative, school chum, or friend you’ve known for years. Abuse is abuse. When you close the door to abusive relationships, you open another one to the possibilities of love, compassion and deep connection. Most of all, you love and respect yourself.
As Maya Angelou says, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time”. When old wounds are addressed, healed and acknowledged, it frees us to seek out authentic relationships. If you catch someone in a lie, they are a liar, if you catch them cheating or stealing, then they are a thief. Pay attention. Your compass will point you in the right direction.
You must forgive. It’s the only way to heal. Learn the lesson, and move on. Otherwise you are dragging around an anvil of bitterness and pain. Love yourself by letting go. When you do, others will rise up to meet you at that level.
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
~ Mark Twain
On a good day, I forgive – I do it for me.
PS – I tossed the broken necklace and replaced it with a gold chain from Hong Kong that my mother purchased years ago on one of her world trips. I think of her every time I wear it and remind myself of her generosity and genuine warmth.
I love you mom, and I like that I’m like you.
© Susan Lee Woodward - 2015 - This article in its entirety is protected by Canadian and International copyright laws. Reproduction of this written content without written permission of the author is prohibited.