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I am a private person. Those who know me, know I listen more than I talk. I have difficulty sharing my private life with those I don’t know well and if I’m honest, I have difficulty sharing my private life even with my closest friends. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that it’s kind of a downer for me to talk about my life before the present moment. I’m a vastly different woman now: secure, strong, empowered. I am a woman who has gone through the fire and come out stronger. A woman who knows that life gets better and better with each passing day.

Mother’s Day has always been bittersweet for me. As an adopted child, I wondered what my biological mother was like and why she didn’t keep me. I wondered what she looked like and if I looked like her. I wondered if I had any brothers or sisters.

I was adopted when I was 6 weeks old to parents who couldn’t have children. I also had a sister (not biological) that was adopted when I was 2. I’d like to say my life was full of sunshine and roses but that was not the case. My adoptive father continually molested me from a very young age. I don’t know when the abuse started or when it stopped. My therapist said my mind dissociated from most of the trauma for which I am profoundly grateful.

The limited memories I have of those times are horrifying. In fact, my mind protected me from most childhood memories, both good and bad, until I hit 40. My sister would recount tales and I would look blankly at her. Most of my memories of my childhood were about taking care of my mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was nine years old. I was one of her primary caretakers. My jobs entailed keeping the house clean, cooking, ironing, bathing her, organizing and distributing her medication, and sleeping in the living room with her so if she needed to use the bathroom chair, I could help her.

It was a complicated life filled with stress, anger, and hopelessness. I had no one to talk to or support me. My sister and I fought constantly and my father expected perfection. My mother died when I was a senior in high school. I didn’t realize what relaxation felt like until after she died. I was unaccustomed to the feeling.

I met my future husband while in between my senior year in highschool and freshman year in college. College was a time of peace. I was out on my own for the first time. No worries except getting good grades. I never invited college friends to my house. I now know why. I couldn’t take the chance with my father. Somewhere in my mind, I knew that was a bad idea.

I obtained a bachelor degree in education during this time and married right out of college. He was the first man who ever paid attention to me. He was caring, sweet, and cherished me. I thought it was true love and we had two wonderful children, but over time I realized what I thought was caring was really controlling behavior. He exhibited depression, anger outbursts, and OCD. I was constantly trying to make him happy and calm.

I lasted 17 years in my marriage but those last 5 years were very difficult. Not only was I unhappy in my marriage, but I was starting to have flashbacks, phobias, and migraines. I became depressed, not to the level of contemplating suicide but empty. I didn’t want to kill myself because of my children, but I wouldn’t have minded if I died. It became too much.

I started to realize that I needed to put my needs first rather than my husband’s needs; that I needed support. The support never came, no other solutions presented themselves so I chose divorce. Needless to say, divorce is never easy, and this one was certainly no exception. I was ostracized by his entire family.

Since I really had no family of my own (my father had died and my sister and I were estranged), I turned to my best friend, Marge. She was the one person who knew my entire story. She was older and not only my friend but like a mother. She taught me so many things! She stuck by my side through it all. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, my world was shattered. My only support system was suddenly in danger and I became her support system. She always said she’d prove to me that not everyone died of breast cancer. I wanted to believe but in the end, it beat her. She fought the good fight for many years, but her body finally gave out. I miss her still.

I know all life has thrown at me has made me stronger and more compassionate.

So yes, Mother’s Day is bittersweet. I mourn not only my adoptive mother whom I never really got to know, but Marge, and myself. I also mourn my biological mother whom I tracked down and discovered she was forced to give me up. I wing it every day with my kids. But I think we all do and so I give myself credit for supporting them in all they have accomplished so far. I give myself credit for not giving up. I give myself credit for continuing on even when life got really bad.

It took many years of therapy to get through my feelings about the divorce, my sexual abuse and to discover who I was, what I liked, what I wanted to do, and how to make choices to make me happy. Then more years of self healing through Reiki and developing and relying on my own intuition.

Now I am in a great place. I’m still single but it’s OK. I like being with myself. I like the person I am. I am kind, nurturing and caring. I have compassion. I use everything this life has taught me to help others going through difficulties. I sing and dance through my house. I play with my dog. I garden up a storm! I teach and coach and heal through holistic methods – that originally helped me. I learn new healing skills and hone my intuition and empathic nature. I use my knowledge and experience to help others.

I take this with me as I help my clients to give them courage and hope for a better life. I know it can be done because I’ve done it. I know that the fires of life hone us into strong, confident people as long as we have the courage to take the steps, even when they are baby steps. I always look ahead and know that life is magical and I want you to know it can be magical for you too!

This is the art of becoming.

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