What do you do when you feel pain? You probably try to distract yourself; it is only natural. Have you ever wondered whether you could find the pearl within your pain?
I still do distraction on occasion without realizing it. It is such a common and ingrained habit, especially for us positive people who want to feel good and see the good in everything and everyone.
What if there was something good in the pain and hurt too?
What if we would miss it, by distracting ourselves to quickly and too eagerly?
Let me share my story about how I found the pearl in the pain.
Settling My Daughter into University Abroad
When my daughter was 14, she told me that she couldn’t wait to turn 18 and be off on her own. It hurt, it hurt deep. My little girl wanted to leave me.
I know it is only natural and the way life goes. Our kids leave the nest eventually.
This last summer, it was that time—the time of graduation, turning 18, and time for my daughter to leave home for university.
We flew together to Aberdeen, Scotland, with four jam-packed suitcases and two carry-ons. A girl needs her clothes and makeup in order to settle into a new life.
It was a weird time for me. I knew this was the end of an era of my life; this was the time she would leave me for good. I know she is still part of my life, but she will likely never ever live under my roof again, aside from spending holidays at home. It was like a farewell for good. It felt like crossing a line, and afterwards, it would never ever be the same.
It was weird, as emotionally, I felt like it was over. My mind told me though that she was still there and would always be a part of my life. My tears were always at the forefront.
During our first two days in Aberdeen, we shopped for the essentials. You know; cutlery, crockery (china in the US), pots, and pans and all you need to start a life on your own.
It was fun assisting her in setting up her new home, getting things for her, looking for duvets and sheets. I truly loved helping her settle in, and I was also extremely proud of my daughter.
She is only 18 and is ready to live her life, which is something I have just started doing myself about 10 years ago, and am learning to deal with now.
You know, here in Switzerland, you usually go to a university that is close to home and continue living with your parents, as this is the most cost-effective way to do things, and nice for the parents to have their flock still under their roof. I was living at home with my parents when I went to university, and then I moved out to live with the man who I later married. So, technically speaking, I never lived on my own.
For me, my daughter going away to university was a new way of doing things, especially as my oldest son, who goes to university in Zurich, still lives with me.
Now my second child—my gorgeous daughter—is eager to flee the nest. I am proud that she is following her desires that she knows what she wants and is not afraid of voicing it. Still, the parting hurts.
So shopping wasn’t the hard part. It kept us busy and kept my thoughts away from having to fly home alone.
Visiting The Dorm
Saturday came and we were able to visit her dorm for the first time, and yes, then it got real. We spent the afternoon looking at her room, arriving with two suitcases, helping her unpack, and assessing what else we needed: hangers and boxes and racks to hold her things.
After unpacking her first things, we went shopping again and got what she still needed, and she mentioned that she would sleep in her dorm on Sunday. I thought, ‘Oh no, that means I have to be alone in the hotel till Monday when I fly back.’
Of course, she would start living there, and yes, school activities started up on Monday. It made sense she would stay in her dorm room; however, it had never occurred to me that I was going to spend one night alone on the hotel.
Sunday morning came. We had coffee together, and I had tears in my eyes the whole time. The time for goodbyes was coming closer.
My daughter was so happy and eager to start her new life, still, she told me, ‘Don’t cry, Mom! Otherwise, I have to cry as well!’
God bless her, she is such a beautiful Empath.
I remember sitting in the coffee shop, being so teary and all of a sudden, a white feather flew in and landed next to me.
‘Oh, thank you Universe,’ I uttered. ‘This is such an amazing sign. Thank you for reassuring me that she will be well and that I will be well too.’
It was such a gorgeous white feather, so beautiful and fresh, clean and pure.
You see, the Angels and the Universe send us signs all the time, and of course, when we need them most. I was so relieved and happy to see this feather. I picked it up put it in my purse, and I still have it with me.
I will never forget that moment and how much relief just seeing this feather brought me.
Good Bye. See you later, Alligator!
The time came for me to get into a cab and drive to the dorm one last time. This time, I would leave behind more than things; this time, I would need to say goodbye to my precious girl.
I helped her unpack the last things she brought with and took the two suitcases back down because she no longer needed them. Then we hugged one last time. I didn’t want to linger too long. I don’t like long farewells.
She was eager to go back up into her room and settle in.
One last hug and then a wave from the taxi, and I was alone, all alone in a foreign city.
When I got back to the hotel, I asked for a thrift shop and learnt there was one just around the corner. I went there and donated the two suitcases we no longer needed. I was flying home with one, and one stayed with my girl. We didn’t need the other two any longer.
Allowing the pain
Back in the hotel, I let the tears fall.
Then I felt like reading or turning on the TV, just to have something help me get through the pain. However, I realized this would just distract me from feeling the pain.
So I lied down on my bed and let the tears flow. There was no one to see me, and I could just let go and be in that pain, the pain of letting go.
While I cried and felt into the pain, I asked myself, ‘Why am I so sad?’
I realized it had nothing to do with saying goodbye to my daughter. She is still part of my life, and nowadays with Facetime even more so.
So what was I feeling?
I realized I felt lonely. I felt profoundly alone, utterly alone, and so absolutely lonely.
Yes, the pain I was feeling was all about me.
I realized then, that if I had a partner to share the experience with, it would be easier. If I had an ex who was even slightly involved with his kids or this transition, I would feel better.
(You can read more about my stories and how I learnt to reconnect with myself after feeling lost in my book, Conversations With Me)
So now I sat there on my bed, realizing I felt alone. I realized I had to carry it all alone—organising the whole transition, finding things in a strange city and foreign country, where it was hard even to know which store to go to in order to get the things we needed, let alone having to hail a cab to get anywhere.
I realized what it means to be a single Mom: that you are responsible for every little detail, that you are carrying the burdens all alone. It is not just the upbringing of the children, it is also letting them go, allowing them to fly and to become who they are meant to be.
While others do that as husband and wife—as a pair—I did it all on my own.
So deep down, I felt lonely.
This realization was indeed a pearl, the pearl I found in all my pain.
It was nothing new; however, I had not really realized it so profoundly.
So when we try to distract ourselves with a book, TV, drinks, friends, going out—anything—we also keep ourselves from discovering the pearls in our pain.
Only while sitting with the pain, can we get a deeper knowledge of ourselves. Only by allowing ourselves to feel the feelings are we able to find the pearls within all our pain.
When was the last time you allowed yourself to cry?
When was the last time you allowed yourself to feel all of your emotions?
I am not telling you it is easy or fun to live in your feelings fully; I am telling you it is necessary and well worth it. We learn so much in those moments of sheer despair. We also reconnect with the core strength in ourselves. I learnt to feel a new pride for what I am doing on a daily basis. I felt honoured I was there for my daughter, despite all my tears.
I felt deep gratitude for this situation, and to be honest, I was blessed to be there on my own. It was just my daughter and me, and I did not have to share her or the moment with anyone else.
Yes, I was also able to sit with my pain on my own, something I could not have done with someone else around.
So what is the pearl that is waiting for you underneath your pain?