I may have written something about this before but now I can’t remember. However this time I am talking, not about letting someone else or something else go. I am talking about letting myself go.

I am not a good Jew, but I have inherited the Jewish guilt syndrome. I am a worrier, and I in the past felt guilty about everything. Thank you Mom! But it is time to let that self go, and I am ready and willing.

My mother always told me by word or deed, that I was responsible for her misery. And my mother was the most miserable, unhappy, unfulfilled human being I have ever known. One could feel, physically, her depression. It was palpable. I mourned for her when she was living. I felt a terrible sadness for her. But I was never able to make her happy. She wanted me to reflect her life as some kind of validation, and I just could not give that to her. She even once wrote me a letter and said that I was nothing without a husband. As angry as this letter made me, it still hurt to hear my mother tell me I was nothing and had no hope.

Letting go a part of yourself that you have carried for so long is not easy. Freeing yourself from things that do not serve you, but that have been an ingrained part of you for most of your life to date, is painful. For me, it is like unchaining myself. I am not sure who the girl in the photograph is – my mother or my chained self. But I do know that I am those butterflies being set free. If it is my mother, I can understand her grief and sadness at freeing those beautiful creatures. They can continue their journey now, of becoming, of adventure and growth. They can spread their wings and share their beauty. For now, it belongs only to each of them.

Freedom is the greatest thing you can give yourself. And only you can give it. When it feels like others have taken it from you, it is only because you gave it away. If it is my mother setting me free at last, it is her final act of love. It is finally an act of love. I can love her back now that she doesn’t hate me anymore. In my dreams and meditations she has been asking me for forgiveness. I can forgive her now, and in doing so, let her go. She can move on and so can I. Each of us takes her freedom and runs with it.

Thank you, Mom, for letting me go and helping me to let you go. We are both free.


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