Letting Go

I find myself once again at a crucial and necessary point in my life where a situation leaves me with no turning back and no time left for second chances.
If this post comes across as somewhat cryptic, it should,
I’m in camouflage mode right now.
There’s a part of me that wants to run away if only to spare myself the inevitable emotional turbulence most likely to be encountered . . . but I can’t run away anymore.

It took a conversation with a very special friend to help me see the proverbial ‘forest through the trees’ and there will be no turning back, no gazing in the rear view mirror.
The time has come for me to sit one on one with my dad and tell him it’s alright to let go.

He’s holding on for reasons that only he knows.

I’ll take his aged and creased hands in mine and tell him as lovingly as possible that my sister and I are fine, that my mother waits patiently on the other side, that he can finally rest his weary head.
There’s a selfish part of me that never wanted to experience a scenario such as this, a part of me that wanted some silly miracle, an impossibility and medically improbable wish upon a non-existent star.

The little boy in me just doesn’t want to give his father the blessing he truly deserves, and though I understand it I’m having a very difficult time with the goodbye part.

I just can’t let go.

In my heart, I see my mother as I did that day long ago, on
Mayflower Beach but this time she’s not walking away she’s holding out her hand to my father.
They’ve both been alone for far too long and I know my father’s heart can’t take much more.

I have to tell my dad, ‘you can let go now‘.

I want him to touch the stars, and be that long forgotten prayer I’ve held inside me since they both got sick; I want them to once again be together . . .
Maybe I just needed time to understand that.

There will be a crystal winter night in the not too distant future that will find me gazing at the mysterious night sky.
A star will sparkle in such a way that it catches my eye.
As I look a bit closer I’ll notice that it’s not one star, but two.
Maybe then I’ll be able to let them go.
Though I doubt it . . .


17 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. I know it’s hard and it might not feel like you can do this but you can. I’m sorry about your mom and your dad and you. I’ve done this with my own folks both and while it broke my heart, I was glad that they were able to go and that they knew I was going to be okay.

    They’re gone from here visually but they are still in my heart . I’m wishing you peace and peace for your family as well tonight.


    Always in the heart. Thanks, Ruby . . .


  2. Oh Michael. Another tear jerker.
    You’ll know when it’s time to let go. He’ll know when it’s time to go. And in your heart of hearts, you’ll let him .. go.
    I’ll keep you in my thoughts.

    I do pray you’re right.
    Thanks for the thoughts, Red.


  3. michael i see this every single day of my life…it’s so hard on families, as well i know…
    i also know the decision you’ve come to is not an easy one, but it is the right one, small comfort that may be at this point…and it doesn’t stop my heart breaking for you and your family either…
    so many do hang on until those they’re leaving behind accept what is, ultimately, to be the inevitable…i can only say to you what i say to them…
    the ultimate show of love for someone, is to assure them you will be alright once they’re gone…they, like you, are parents and as always, their thoughts are with their children…the peace i’ve seen it bring so many people once this conversation has been had is quite remarkable for all concerned, regardless of the mental state of the parties involved…
    my thoughts are with you, your sister, and pam and the girls as well…
    i’m not a big one for prayer as you know, but i will be saying a special one for all of you tonight

    I can’t ask for much more than a comment from someone that understands this situation as well as you do, Moe.
    I appreciate the prayer more than you will ever know.
    I’ll keep you posted on Dad.


  4. If only we all had someone like you to reassure us when it’s time to go, it would be a more perfect world.

    I will pray that you and your family will have peace during the difficult time ahead.

    Your writing your experience so eloquently is a blessing for your friends. It lets us share.

    If my writing this down helps someone, I’m thankful and doubly blessed.
    It was one of my original intentions with this entire blog.
    Thanks for giving that thought some light.
    You’re a peach, Lolly.


  5. “I want him to touch the stars, and be that long forgotten prayer I’ve held inside me since they both got sick; I want them to once again be together . . .
    Maybe I just needed time to understand that.

    There will be a crystal winter night in the not too distant future that will find me gazing at the mysterious night sky.
    A star will sparkle in such a way that it catches my eye.
    As I look a bit closer I’ll notice that it’s not one star, but two.
    Maybe then I’ll be able to let them go.
    Though I doubt it . . .”

    How lovely, and perfect that was.

    Thank you for saying all of the things I often can’t.

    You are very welcome, LF.
    Sometimes I’m not sure how things I write will be interpreted but this one seems to be working.
    Thanks so much for the ‘perfect’ comment. 😉


  6. Another beautiful post that reaches down into our souls and stirs our hearts.
    Letting go of someone’s hand like that is not an easy thing. In fact, I’m going to go as far as to say that we were not built to do such a thing. But, never let go of hope, even if it as tiny as a grain of sand.

    Keeping you in my prayers.

    Hope gets us through to tomorrow sometimes.
    Amazing what a grain of sand can do, huh? :0)
    Thanks, WT

    ps. check your spam folder. I sent you an email!


  7. Oh Michael. that is sad and beautiful. i had to endure watching my father tell my grandmother the same thing this past July. It was hard, but it freed her. I know it did. I miss her but she is always with me. I know your dad and mom will always be with you and together again. Take what solace you can from that. My prayers are with you.

    I appreciate the prayers.
    Glad you made it through a rough spot.


  8. Those two sparkling stars you speak of will always be in the sky and in your heart…….together forever. Your family, friends and your writing will help you, when the going gets tough….trust in them!
    You’re in my thoughts and prayers!

    Thanks, Lynn.


  9. My mamaw has been in the hospital for months now, trying to get over a spinal infection. Her daughter, my auntie, has been at her side the ENTIRE time. She hasn’t gone home, she hasn’t left her. Mamaw is now angry with all of us because she wanted our blessing for her to give up. She wanted to die this past Monday and we wouldn’t give her our blessing. I’m sure it’s hard. I’m sure it’s difficult on both ends, but giving up is not always the answer.
    I don’t know why I told you this, hijacking your comments area like I have, but I’m not ready to let her go. Not yet. Not now.

    I feel your pain and frustration, Red.
    Feel free to hijack my comments anytime. If typing the words out helps when you’re here, go nuts.


  10. Last week I was caught saying, “I miss my dad” … I just said it in passing not expecting any sort of reply but my 11 year old son said, “I know mama but he’s in a better place” and he rubbed my shoulder. I had said that very same thing to my mother when she lost her dad. Sometimes I get mad. M-A-D, seems like I’m more angry than sad anymore. Because I don’t want him “in a better place”, I thought the better place was here with us. But is it? He was really sick and was suffering. Not only was he physically breaking down but he also had the dementia. He was frustrated and depressed. I need to work on not being so mad. This is just a gray area, huh? Now, I’ll just say that your words are beautiful. It made me really sad and just so you know, I think you are very brave for putting this pain out there. I have tears in my eyes and I’m wishing you and your family only the best.

    Because I don’t want him “in a better place”, I thought the better place was here with us.
    Very interesting comment. As you said regarding a better place, is it?
    For me, this world is not a better place for my dad.
    Everyone thinks about it differently though and I respect anyone’s opinion.


  11. You know my father has had eight heart attacks AND a stroke. And after this last one, I realized that I had to make peace with the fact that he may really die, that we all will.
    Because every time I would get a call, I would get hysterical. And it was hard.

    I finally had the courage to say to him that if he really needed to go and was just sticking around for us that I realized that I had been selfish, that he could go. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And the crazy thing is is that I didn’t really mean it and I don’t really now.

    It’s like you know you need to… you recognize the cycle of life, but when you are face to face with it….. it’s awful. Real hard. There is always that child in you that wants to say…no fair! This is not fair, stomp your feet, tighten your fists, and throw something, or hit something, and the other part of you wonders about the irony, the agony, and no matter what is going on inside…you know what you have to do. The choice has been made for you….and it always has been and that really f**king sucks.

    I feel for you Michael……..wish you and your family as much peace as possible. And the same for you father.

    No fair is right, Kim.
    It took me along time to come to grips with that.
    These days I’m much better. I practice the difficult art of ‘acceptance’ every single day.


  12. michael,
    it’s never easy to let go – never – but we all know in our hearts when the time comes. i pray for strength and peace for you and your family. and for freedom of spirit for your father.


    That’s a prayer right there, Sarah.


  13. Michael,
    How I wish that there were something any of us could do or say that would ease this pain – sadly, there isn’t. But they have been apart too long – and I don’t know why but I believe they are truly soul mates and need to be together again. For this reason, I will try to celebrate your father letting go so that he can join her again and yes, they will be two stars in the sky winking at you – always.


    We’ve talked many times about this and I appreciate your honesty and intelligence in helping me to understand things that are right in front of me. Sounds simple but . . .
    Thanks, kiddo


  14. dear, dear m squared,

    your parents will live on through you ~ you and your siblings are their finest legacy. your capacity for love and your many talents were gifts from them.

    i know, i am writing from a different place; doubly blessed, since mine are still on this side…anything i have to say seems, even to me, trite or magnanimous.

    after 17 years of nursing, one would think i may have become immune to the drama of love and letting go….a few weeks back, i had a patient who was in the process of crossing over. i immediately became involved, fully drawn in to the vortex…his 16 year-old son, sleep-deprived and scared, in a recliner, refusing to sleep. his girlfriend and sister on the bed next to him. so many questions, so much to do….i went through the usual motions: talking, answering questions, addressing his pain issues, ordering a cart of food and coffee, touching, etc….it wasn’t until a colleague came in to give me a hand that the floodgates opened. to the point, her very powerful words were: “the most selfless thing you can do for him is to tell him it’s ok to go.”

    i lost it. go figure. i had only known the man for a few hours. sue spoke the words that so many are afraid to say out loud, lest they become real.

    regardless of a person’s mental status, many patients will hold on, waiting for the next birthday, anniversary….a loved one’s wedding. then that holiday becomes so bittersweet….every year it hurts anew…

    nothing i can say will make you feel any better. none of these beautiful words your Constant Readers have left make you any less apt to cry until you can’t breathe, or want to pound the shit out of something.

    just remember, one day you will all be reunited, and you will shine together in the sky.

    love, and hugs to you and pam and the girls…

    Anytime someone pauses here and gives me a piece of their heart, I’m moved.
    I know you understand where this post comes from. You’ve been there many times.
    It’s through empathy and kind words that in a small way we begin to heal.
    I thank you for your wisdom and taking the time to leave your always wonderful thoughts.
    Someday my dad will be “Home at Last” . . .


  15. Oh sweetie. We had to do this with my grandfather this time last year. And you know what? I remember my Mom telling me “I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to have to tell him this.” But after she told him it’s okay, we’re okay, Mom is waiting for you… she felt relieved and had peace because she gave him what he needed in the end. That will give you and him peace.

    My prayers are with you.

    It’s the most amazing thing that so many people have gone through the exact same thing.
    I thank you for your kind words, MS
    Believe it or not, they help.


  16. Ah, this post makes me feel torn for you, ~m. I’m sorry it has to be so hard for you and your family. The best thing to remember, maybe, is that maybe it’s a peaceable transition with plenty of soul-searching and time put into every decision, every reflection, committed to your memory of your parents. Although it’s bittersweet, it’s such lovely tribute to your loving family to write about it, too. Thanks for sharing.

    God bless,

    I’m actually doing okay, Mel.
    I really do appreciate your concern though.
    Never ceases to amaze me how many people actually care about my welfare.
    Kinda cool . . .


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