How do you not live a bitter life when you have experienced your own share of loss and hurt?
Last weekend, I attended the home-going service of a very special woman to me, Valerie who touched the hearts of every person she had ever met because of her beautiful spirit. You wouldn’t know from the way she carried herself that she too experienced her share of loss, hurt, and pain at an early age. However, after reading her obituary, I learned that she too lost her parents at a very early age, just like I did, but the way she lived her life, you wouldn’t know that was her story.
She lost her mom immediately after she was born and as a result, she ended up having to live with other family members, just like I did, but again, the way she lived her life, you wouldn’t know the negative effects she may have experienced from losing both parents because of how positive, encouraging and hopeful she was. I rarely saw her get mad, she was always so mild-mannered and filled with joy even though she grew up in this world without the two most important people in her life too. This never seemed to interfere with her ability to connect with people and build meaningful relationships. Even though she didn’t get the chance to develop an attachment and bond with her parents during her infant and childhood years, it didn’t appear that she had an issue with building healthy and long-lasting relationships, as I did. Usually, they say that children who fail to develop a bond with their parents or caregivers end up having issues with connecting with others and developing healthy relationships.
As I continued to read her story, reflect on the person she was and how everybody who knew her, knew she lit up a room with her radiant spirit. I asked myself, how did she not appear to live a bitter life? Although, I didn’t know what other challenges she may have faced along her life journey. Nor did I know what living without her parents meant to her. I knew for me, losing my parents affected me in more ways than one and it kinda made me develop a bitter spirit at times because there was this void in my life that I couldn’t seem to shake. I asked myself again, how did this woman not live a bitter life? How was it that, I never picked up on a sense of resentment or pity in her demeanor even though she never got to experience what it’s like to be with her parents?
Seeing the way she lived her life and the way she made others feel and the way others felt about her, inspired me to want to live life like her, bitter-free, loved, and loving to myself and others. To be honest, I felt like losing my parents and experiencing a multitude of hurt and pain along the way, caused me to fail to love myself and others properly. However, that didn’t seem to be the case for Ms. Valerie and it was evident by the way she treated others with love, kindness and care.
Although she was truly a southern belle at heart due to her upbringings in the South, she was just so graceful and hospitable to others and again, I just wanted to know how did she not develop a bitter spirit? Because the bitterness that I developed from losing my parents at an early age hindered me from connecting with others and truly being the joyful and calm person I wanted to be and know I was destined to be. That is why I was dying to know how Valerie didn’t let the traumatic experience of losing her parents diminish her and keep her from still being a loving person? I wanted to know because I needed to know what I needed to do to stop living a life of bitterness, so that at the age of 53, I wouldn’t still have a bitter heart that I’d leave this earth with due to the hurt and pain I’d experienced and never healed from at an early age.
So how does one not live a bitter life after experiencing pain and loss? I say choose to live a life like my good friend Valerie, carefree, bitter free with the ability to love and be loved even when you have experienced, loss, hurt, and pain.