It was late that night, probably around midnight. I had just gotten home from work. Exhausted, I dropped my purse on the floor and fell on the couch. My kids had been tucked into bed by their grandparents, yet again. As an overwhelmed, lonely, single mother, I sat in silence in the dimly lit living room of my small apartment. “How can I continue to do this anymore?” “How can I face another day?”, were just a couple of the questions being mulled over in my mind that night.
As thoughts and questions regarding many details of my life intensified, tears began to spill over their boundaries and streamed down my cheeks. I tried to stuff down the emotion that I felt welling up, but it was a force so powerful that night that it erupted from some deep, unfamiliar place. Tears turned to agonizing sobs that had me doubled over in pain. I don’t know how long it lasted but it seemed like hours. There finally came a moment of emptiness, silence once again. An almost eerie clarity of thinking had returned. My questions had a simple answer. A very matter of fact voice whispered, “End it all. Why try anymore? You “can’t” do this anymore!”
Thoughts like this had entered my mind, previous to this particular occasion. They were always quickly squelched by the realization that my son and daughter needed their own mother. This night, the dark side of my soul overshadowed any sense of good judgment. Something sinister had found its way in to my decision making process that night. The decision was made. Something evil had me planning the least painful, surefire end to my misery.
If you are wondering how I found myself in this place, here is the nutshell version. I wasn’t even thirty years old at the time, but had already been divorced twice from abusive, alcoholic spouses. I worked long hours trying to support my two children, but it was never enough. I couldn’t pay all of the bills. I received no child support. I was tired from the dead end relationships that I did have and I was tired of always needing help from my family. No one seemed to care enough to know or understand what I was feeling. Of course there were lots of details that further complicated all of that, but the bottom line was, “I” wasn’t enough of what I felt I needed to be. I saw no hope for anything to change.
Empty of emotion, satisfied that the firmly settled plans for my short lived future were in the works, I headed to the kitchen for a drink before I went to bed. There on the kitchen table was a single rose, left by my mom and dad.
You have to know, my parents were an amazing support to me during this time. They watched my kids while I worked, got them off to school, fed them, bathed them, made sure the homework was done and tucked them in on nights I had to work late. I don’t know what I would have done without my parents during that season in my life. Yet, even with that support, they had the role that I wanted to have in my kid’s life. I wanted to be the best mom in the world and I didn’t fit my own picture of what that should have looked like. The weight of guilt that I carried from that, in itself, was unbearable.
Thankfully, the stove light was on and I was able to see that there was something on the table. I picked up the rose and admired its beauty and sweet scent. There was a note that had been lying underneath the rose. The message was simple.
“We are proud of you. Love, Mom and Dad.”
The stream of tears began to trickle down my cheeks once again. This time, the tears seemed to come from a different place, a place of life and hope. Of course, I questioned, “How can this be true?” “What had I done to make them proud of me?” I only saw failure, yet they saw something different that made them proud. They saw some thing in me that I was unable to see. Maybe they saw that I was able to do this. Maybe they saw that there was hope for my future.
I felt a new strength rise up in me that night. It was a strength that brought true peace. It was ever so slight, but it was life giving, not life taking. That rose and the power of the love it represented brought light that overpowered the dark thoughts I’d had. It was a “God moment” and God timing at its best. I was able to go to sleep that night with renewed hope. I had no answers, but I knew I could make it another day.
Thank you, Mom and Dad. I don’t think you ever knew.
I love you!
The take away from my story, never underestimate the power of the love that is behind the simplest gestures that we make to show it. Never underestimate the power of the love that is shown to you by the people in your life.
Who has been trying to show love to you through simple things? What kind gestures has someone shown you that gave you hope to go on? Who can you show a little love to today?