The Art of Letting Go

“Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things that cannot be.” – Unknown

In recent weeks, more than on person has suggested I let my daughter go. 

This statement usually sent me into a fit of laughter. First I would hear Moses in that Easter movie "Let my people go".   (That was Charleston Heston, no?) Then I would laugh at the irony of the statement.

Let her go?

Perhaps you missed the fact that I did that when she was three days old? Did you miss the part where I gave my newborn child over to total strangers with no idea where she would go or how they would care for her? Perhaps I failed to mention that society condoned that heinous action? 

Oh, I let her go alright.

I believe, what they mean, is that I must let the fantasy go, the wishes go, the desires.  I believe what they see is a mother hoping her child would have some compassion and caring for her and they want that mother to let that fantasy go. I believe what they want is for me to stop going back to the whipping post that is known as my daughter for continued mistreatment. I believe they want me to see her for what she is versus what I might want her to be.

That is what they want me to let go. This constant ache. This constant sleeplessness and agony.  The grand delusion. They say "let her go" becuase she, like me, is the physical manifestation of that pain.

"She clearly cares nothing for you. Why do you bother caring for her?" one friend said.

I couldn’t respond.  It seems utterly ridiculous to me that anyone would ask a mother why she cares for her child.

All of that said, I am working on letting go. I really am.  As they say in divorce groups  I am "giving up the wish".

I admit to having a desire, fantasy, that maybe, hidden somewhere under that bristly exterior my daughter does care, would care, might care. Maybe one day she will. That day is not today.

So, yeah, I am working on letting go.   

This time it IS my choice. Where as before I let her go to save her from the awfulness that was her single, unwed mother,  today I let her go to save myself.

I don’t mean to imply I am rejecting her or would not welcome her in the future. I am however rejecting and refusing to own the negative feelings that the situation has caused me.

At least I am going to try.


5 Thoughts.

  1. Why do you BOTHER to care for your child? WTF?!?!
    I’m no expert on “letting go,” just another student of that illusive skill. But my understanding is that this DOES NOT mean letting go of people or hope. Rather, outcomes over which we have no control.
    Are you familiar with Melody Beattie? I highly recommend her book, “The Language of Letting Go:”
    “Letting go means we acknowledge that hanging on so tightly isn’t helping to solve the problem, change the person, or get the outcome we desire. It isn’t helping US. In fact we learn that hanging on often blocks us from getting what we want an need… There is magic in letting go. Sometimes we get what we want soon after we let go. Sometimes it takes longer. Sometimes the specific outcome we desire doesn’t happen. Something better does.”

  2. (((((((Hugs))))))), Suz.
    Your heart is and will always be open to a relationship with your child, and I will continue to be hopeful that it will develop one day.

  3. Denise – As an Adult Child of an Alchoholic (ACOA) and a sibling to siblings who suffer with substance abuse, I am very familiar with Melanies work. Have read it many times. However, I do believe a reread could be very helpful. Thank you for reminding me.

  4. I for one DO NOT like to let go I hang until I strangle me. However, thinking of all the truths of what I did let go of, it needed to be done. If any part of it comes back it is for keeps. You begin to feel that inner self. The one that is buried with pain, grief,and sadness then magically peels away layers into the reality of your freedom. It is the most peaceful wonder and you didnt let go at all. You are free!

  5. Suz,
    As a reunited adoptee who spent years and years not having a relationship with my natural mother, I would beg you to not let go of the hope that some day your daughter will come into your life wanting a relationship. Don’t give up that hope because she will need you to keep that hope going. I agree with Denise when she said “Letting go means we acknowledge that hanging on so tightly isn’t helping to solve the problem, change the person, or get the outcome we desire.”
    I know that my natural mother never gave up hope that one day I would return to her wanting a relationship with her. It was that hope that has finally made us close. It was that hope that made her pray for me when I wasn’t in her life. It was that hope that made me feel that I was still her daughter when I came back in her life.
    So don’t “let go” of the hope, just “let go” of the situation of her not choosing to be a part of your life right now because as you know, you can’t control how she feels or what she does. As her mother, I know you wish you could control how she feels about you and the situation, but she has to come to terms with herself and the situation so that one day, you and her can have a relationship that can withstand anything.

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