As promised, a couple of days ago I sent you an email letting you know about my own personal breakthrough and transformation at my own Inner Success Retreat last weekend in Monterey, California.
And it has EVERYTHING to do with my mom (who passed in July 2005). So, it's perfectly fitting for this blessed Mother's Day today.
I'd like to tell you the story so that you understand what a major breakthrough I had last weekend surrounding my mother.
Let's rewind to the year 2005.
On February 28th of that year, my mother had a major seizure. She was immediately admitted into the hospital where it was discovered that she had a brain tumor the size of a golf ball in her forehead area. At that moment, I didn't know anything was wrong but I felt that I needed to call my mom. My brother answered the phone and was very upset, telling me that our mom was in the hospital and that she had a brain tumor.
My thought was this, "It'll be okay. She's only 52. They'd just operate and she'll be just fine."
In April, the government hit me with a huge lawsuit that would end up consuming more than 2 years of my life. Between my mother's fragile health and this lawsuit, I was completely depleted on every level you can imagine. I was existing solely on the fumes of "fight-or-flight" adrenaline at that time in my life. As I think back now, I wonder how I didn't have a stroke or heart attack myself.
April was also the month where they operated on my mother. They removed as much of the brain tumor as they could but discovered that she had too many nerves intertwined with the tumor that only about three-quarters of the tumor could be removed. A part of me knew that wouldn't be enough.
Miraculously my mother began to quickly recover. (This is the power of the mind at its best!) She began walking, talking, and even cleaning the house. She was getting back to normal until...
Six weeks later when the doctors told her that her brain tumor was now even larger in size than before they cut her open for the removal.
My mom lost all hope. She instantly began to perish from this point forward.
(I often wonder what would have happened if the doctors LIED to her and told her that the tumor was almost gone. I wonder what would have happened then.)
By July 2005, I knew I had to go see her. She lived in St. Louis and I, of course, in California. When I saw her, she was lying in a hospital bed in her bedroom. She was already in the hospice program. She couldn't get out of bed at all.
It broke my heart to see her in this condition. This was a meaty woman of mostly German stock who was always over 200 lbs. for most of my life...and had wasted away to about half that weight by this time. She had no hair. She wore only a dull flowered dress that was across between a moo-moo and a hospital gown. And communication with her was difficult at best because of the pressure of the tumor on the parts of her brain that allowed her to talk and respond.
I remember she kept doing thing with her hand. She'd grab the side rail of the hospital bed and she would then ask me to remove her hand because her brain disorder disallowed her from doing so.
And over and over again she'd do this, testing my patience to the enth degree.
The woman I saw -- so fragile and sickly in her hospital bed -- was NOT my mother, I concluded. She was a mere shell of her former self. And I decided that my real mom just wasn't there anymore.
I told my brother that I couldn't be there anymore. I just couldn't. So, I gave my mother a hug and kiss good-bye, knowing I'd never see her again.
And this is the part that made me break all these years later as I recalled it for the FIRST TIME since 2005...
I was describing this whole story to Aran one late night during the retreat. I don't know what prompted the story but this is the kind of stuff -- the stuff that is the "sludge" in your heart and soul that is slowing you down in your life -- that begins to surface during these kinds of events. And it's best to just let it burst to the surface as to be rid of it once and for all.
I just started crying...almost hysterically...as I broke down and remembered my mother CALLING my name -- "Monica, Monica, Monica..." as I left her room for the last time FOREVER.
AND I NEVER WENT BACK EVEN THOUGH I SHOULD HAVE!
The tears rolled down my face uncontrollably as I remembered this one single defining event in my life...one that I had long forgotten but was affecting my life on so many levels that it's unbelievable.
This sense of remorse and regret that was buried so deeply in my heart was finally coming to the surface for the first time since that day in July of 2005. And it was affecting me in ways like making me always feel this sense of depression and somber sadness without any real reason as to why this is. And now I've finally gotten to that WHY once and for all.
I realized the next morning in my overwhelmingly fragile and shaken state of being that the reason I didn't go back was because of all the sh** that was going on in my life at that time.
But that was no excuse.
All my mom wanted was someone to sit with her. Someone to hold her hand. Someone to just BE THERE...and I couldn't even do that!
The day before, I had written a letter of forgiveness and threw it in the fire, which was one of the things we did together as a group to let go of the pain others have brought us in a moment of complete forgiveness.
I forgave my parents...and then suddenly realized that maybe it is ME who THEY need to forgive...and not the other way around.
Even though I felt like dog crap for the following 48 hours after this buried memory came to surface, once it was up and out I started to feel out-of-this-world AMAZING!! I realized that THIS is the reason I always felt this sense of grief over the loss of mother. NOT because of her death, necessarily, but because of how callous and cold I was the last day I saw her.
With that, I am finally able to FORGIVE myself. Because that's all I can do at this stage of my life.
I want to thank Aran for being so supportive during this cataclysmic breakthrough moment for me. He handled my seemingly erratic and impulsive hysterics in such a sweet and gentle way. For that, I'll always feel like we have an unbreakable bond.
And that is my Mother's Day story for you.
If you're mother is still here, treat her with kindness. She needs you just as much as you need her.
See you at the top!