Have you ever felt like you made a decision and realized you could never go back? It’s like you’ve walked through this door and you hear the door close behind you…you look around and there is a dark hallway ahead, with doors lining it…you see a bit of light shinning out from under these doors, but it’s still dark and scary. You grab for the doorknob only to find the door you just passed through has locked behind you. You have no other place to go, but forward. To make matters worse…you have your kids with you! They all have on their little backpacks and are looking at you like, “Ok Mom…where are we going?” This is when you fake it! You have no idea “where we are going?!!!”, only that we must move forward and to make matters worse, you know you don’t have all the right equipment in your backpack! Your only hope is that you pick a door in which will lead you down a path that can offer you some goodness and help along the way. You can’t go backwards…you must move ahead, and so, you hold your head high, you push your shoulders back and you march on!
I often wondered about what would have happened if I didn’t open this door, but opened another instead. I use to love those books when I was little where you could pick A, B, or C to finish the adventure. I would pick a letter, go down that path and then read the other two adventures to see which one I liked the best. In the end, I’d think about my choice and be really glad that I had read all of the options to pick the right one. In real life, we never get a chance to see what would have happened if we choose B or C. We picked option A and now we must follow that option to the final destination. Don’t get me wrong…sometimes option A morphs into option B as the path takes a sharp turn, but the reality is we never can go back to the spot where we originally made the decision that leaves us on the other side of that door.
This year, I’ve finalized my divorce, broke off a long term relationship and made peace with a man who broke my heart almost 20yrs. ago. It’s been a lot of closure, but in the process I’ve had to deal with the thoughts of “what if?” What if I married that guy that broke my heart…where would I be living? What would my life look like now? Would I be happy? Would I have pursued my art? Would I have pursued my dreams?…There it is, the sound of the door clicking behind me. What if I had gone to NY and never married in the first place…what would that be like, just me, in a flat painting in NY City? whhhhooooshhhh….click!
I had an intense conversation with the man who broke my heart. He wanted to explain his decisions, the reasons he did what he did, and in the end, wanted my forgiveness. I felt the lump well up in my throat, for a moment…my mind leaped back through the door, I was on the other side and we were just teenagers again. I was flooded with all the fond memories and times we had together. I thought about all the “what if’s” and felt a deep sadness. I held back my tears, I took a deep breath and I told him that I had forgiven him a long time ago. The look of relief swept over his face. We both chose different doors and in the end very different lives. It still hurts because you may still really love that person but you know there is no going back, there is no option B. There is a whhhhooooooosh click as that door shuts forever. It reminds me of the movie, “Casa Blanca”. (If you haven’t watched it, you must!). It’s a beautiful story and a perfect example of choosing right because it’s right. You feel torn in the movie as this women loves two men. You want her to go with the super sexy Cuban (how can you resist Humphrey Boghart?), yet you know it’s right for her to go with her husband… ”It’s Sad, but it’s Right!”
I am such a present and passionate person, so I feel things deeper but you can’t make decisions on your feelings…they lie! I remind myself constantly, “Elida, do what’s right and the feelings will follow!” You must listen to your gut, follow truth, and your feelings eventually will catch up! When your mind is really clear….journal. That way you can go back to it when your emotions start to overide. My mom always says, “Don’t question in the dark what you know to be true in the light!” I’ve held onto that quote my entire life and like usual, she’s right. I should have a bracelet or T-shirt made that says, “What Would Shirley Do”…WWSD? Anyhow, the point is we make decisions in our lives that are sometimes permanent, there is no going back through that door and so, you must move forward. It doesn’t help for you to spend a lot of time wondering if you could go back through that door either because you can’t. Instead, look up and march forward!
I went to my Aunt Jeanie’s memorial last night. It was beautiful and heartfelt. I cried..a lot! I was one who got up and spoke about the last few times I saw her. She died from ovarian cancer. When I saw her just a few months ago, I was shocked. She looked so frail and thin, almost unrecognizable. The cancer had taken over. My mom and I walked into the room and I gave her a kiss. She propped herself up on a pillow and begin to talk with me like nothing was wrong. Before long I was chatting away about Italy, my latest TV gig, and stories about my kids. She shared stories of her grand kids too and we laughed together. It was a special moment. I left not knowing if I would see her again and I felt a deep sadness. I took off for our Italy tour. When I came home, I found out she had been moved to hospice. She was going down hill fast. I rearranged my schedule and headed over to Lake O to see her. She was sleeping, but when I touched her hand and told her “it’s Elida, I’m just here to see you!”…she squeezed my hand and opened her eyes. She was barely hanging on. Right before I left she sat up and asked for a fudge cycle. (Later I heard she wouldn’t eat it because they brought her the wrong kind and she didn’t like that “fat free crap!” Ha!) When I left I leaned down and prayed for her. I didn’t ask for healing, I didn’t ask for miracles,…I just asked for peace, that she wouldn’t feel anymore pain and that God’s angels would be with her especially now at the end. The next day, she died. It was time, it was her time to go and I was glad it wasn’t drawn out any longer. My cousin told me about a double rainbow she saw right after my aunt’s death. That was a sign, the same sign my mom had prayed for when my Grandpa died. It was a sign that she was ok…it was a sign to us that she was in a better place. It was a sign that even though…