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Letting Go: A Personal Essay- May 2019 (As seen on Your Tango)

Are you feeling the pang of letting go of a loved one? Maybe it’s a child leaving the nest? Or an aging parent at the end stage of life? Perhaps it’s the transition of a partner or friend?

At this stage in my journey, I’m keenly aware of the feeling of loss that happens when loved-ones transition in their own lives. These changes can trigger many things, including a revaluation of what is most important to you and who you are at your core.

I wrote this personal reflection about the shift that is simultaneously happening with my youngest son and my very senior mother. I hope that you find something in my words that resonates.

My Son, Age 19 (Almost 20)
The days feel longer when I worry about where you are, who you are with, and if you’re making good choices. I want to stop worrying about you. I tell myself that if I did my job over the past 20 years, "There’s nothing to worry about."

Maybe it’s that I miss you? I do miss you. I miss how we were before. When you needed me more often? When I seemed more important to you? Will I be important to you again?

I’m happy that you’re out in the world. I am proud of your accomplishments. I am grateful that you’re becoming more of who you truly are.

My Mother, Age 90
How did you let me go when I was so fiercely independent from the time that I started walking? What made you strong? Your dreams were modest. Your family made you whole. As you lose pieces of memory every day, how much of me is still present in your consciousness?

My Son
I was like you at your age. I didn’t remember my mother, either.

My Mother
I needed you when my children were born and growing. As you slowly slip away from this life, your demeanor is so childlike. I am sad to see you this way. My children have grown. I need you to be who you once were, to be how I remember you.

My Son
How do you see me now? Do you ever think about what I want from you? It’s simple. Really. I promise. I just need to know that you love me and that I’m important to you. I need to hear it.

My Mother
How do you see me now? Am I still the aloof daughter who never told you that I loved you enough? How will you remember me as your mind becomes blurred recollections?

Maybe it’s that I miss you? I do miss you. I miss how we were before. When I needed you more often? When it seemed that I was more important to you?

My Son
It’s simple. Really. I promise. I just need you to know that I love you. I need you to hear it and carry it with you wherever you go.

My Mother
You are more important to me than ever before. It’s simple. Really. I promise. I just need you to know that I love you. I need you to hear it and carry it with you when you leave.

Dara Padwo-Audick, CPC, ELI-MP, MA, is a life, career, and leadership coach in Virginia. With a background in writing and directing for stage and screen, she especially enjoys working with other creative types.