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Letting Go

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Letting Go

I woke up yesterday with a headache that grew from merely annoying to an 8.5 on the Richter scale in a matter of minutes. My daughter was home from school because of a water emergency in our town (continued fallout from Sandy) but instead of being happy for the day off she seemed extra cranky. I was running late for work and left the house without my coat on a freezing day, and to make things worse the medicine I took for my headache didn’t do a thing except sour my stomach.

At work, nothing went my way. My phone crapped out for no reason in the middle of an important conference call, my clients were extra demanding, none of my staff was available when I needed them, and my colleagues, usually a pleasure to work with, seemed to go out of their way to impede everything I tried to do.

Oh, and my head still pounded.

I fired up my laptop and tried to write but I was about as inspired as a doorknob. Nothing came to me, so I did what so many writers do when we have nothing. I forced myself to put words on the page which I just ended up deleting

The headache got worse.


I wasn’t about to get any writing done so I decided to do some work on my site but as soon as I began it crashed, showing me a weird message I’d never seen before. Forty-five minutes later I managed to figure out the problem, but just as I was about to fix it my laptop crashed with a blue screen of death. I fought the urge to put my foot through the laptop’s screen and rebooted it. While I waited for it to start back up a calendar reminder popped up on my phone.

It said, Mom’s Birthday.

Every year I’d buy her two birthday presents. One that I would ship to her, and one that I would hold and give to her in person when she came to visit.  Several times in the past weeks I’d caught myself wondering what to get her or looking at things when I was in the store thinking if she would like it or not before I remembered that I didn’t have a mom to buy anything for anymore.

My head didn't hurt anymore. Maybe I just didn’t notice it. My heart hurt more.

I felt terrible and tried to suppress the feeling but it only made it worse so I closed my eyes, put my head down and let go. The memories came. Mom cooking for us, mom giving me advice, mom holding her new granddaughter named after her. We men are taught not to give in to let go and give in to our feelings but honestly, once they came they were here to stay. I felt them and for a time it was horrible then soon it wasn’t so bad and not long after that I could even smile at the memories.  

Once I let go of what was on the edge of my consciousness all day my headache went away, my phone service was awesome, my laptop moved extra fast, my site miraculously fixed itself, my staff were all available my colleagues were extra helpful and my clients seemed to suddenly find the genius in my ideas.

And I felt better.

My takeaway? Let go. Feel what I have to feel. Let the feelings be. Don’t be afraid of them. A good friend tells me I haven’t mourned my mother yet and maybe that’s right. I haven’t found a way to let go. Not let go of my mom and what she meant to me but let go of my fear of…letting go and letting the emotions do their work. We men are not the best at letting the feelings get the best of us but sometimes they have to. We battle them and sometimes we throw them out of the ring but like any good WWE villain they’re never down for long. Letting go is hard when you've trained yourself to hold on for dear life. Still, I’m going to try very hard to feel what I have to feel.

And what I feel now is like a little boy who wishes he could hear his mother’s voice again.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I miss you.

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8 Responses to "Letting Go"

  • TavyDay
    November 9, 2012 - 2:55 pm Reply

    Heartfelt. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hugh
      November 9, 2012 - 9:26 pm Reply

      Anytime Tavy. Thank you so much for reading. : )

  • Ta'Nisha Gray
    November 8, 2012 - 8:45 pm Reply

    Awww Happy Birthday Mom… I know that there are no amount of words I can say that will take your pain away but I hope and pray that you find comfort in the fact that she watches over you and I know from my experience with you that you make her proud and honored to be your mother.

    You’re an awesome man… she had so much to do with that!!!

    So from now on when you think of her remember that if not for her where would you be… She hasn’t left you she’s just in a better place awaiting your arrival someday so she can tell you just how you’ve pleased her over the years, how she’s watched her grandchild grow into a beautiful young lady full of hope love and life.

    Peace be with you in your time of bereavement we all deal with loss in different ways I’m happy you’ve found that you just have to Let Go & Let God as well as Hugh deal with what you’re feeling… The work isn’t over but you’re on the right track.

    Love, Peace & many Blessings My Friend Always,

    • Hugh
      November 9, 2012 - 9:21 pm Reply

      Hey Ta’Nisha thank you! You’re right, the work is far from over and I truly hope I really am on the right track. My mom was a great believer in education and worked hard, scrimped and saved to send us to the best schools she could. Now, every morning when I dress my daughter in her school uniform I think how proud my mom would have been to see her granddaughter in it.
      Thanks again T, as usual thanks so much for the encouragement, it means so much.

  • Dee Dee
    November 8, 2012 - 2:18 pm Reply

    The thing about grief is that people don’t tell you that it lasts forever, just feels differently as time goes on.
    When you love someone, and they leave, it doesn’t matter why they are gone – just that they aren’t where you need them to be anymore. That was my takeaway after my mom died. I no longer got the ‘what if’ and ‘how come’ I just got the ‘sure wish she was here’ and things like that. I hope you remember her for the rest of your life, and that you don’t feel bad when sometimes your memories make you sad.

    • Hugh
      November 8, 2012 - 6:38 pm Reply

      Thanks Dee Dee. I guess it’s like they say about the rock…it never gets lighter, you get stronger.
      I thought though, that with time her birthday wouldn’t affect me or I wouldn’t be moved when I see her in my daughter’s face. But all these things happen and are here to stay so it’s like you say, try not to feel bad when the memories take hold.

  • Keisha Barnes
    November 8, 2012 - 7:07 am Reply

    Happy Birthday to your mom!

    • Hugh
      November 8, 2012 - 6:34 pm Reply

      Thanks Keisha!!

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