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When I was a child, I gave my sense of authority and power of my life over to my parents. This happened in a graveyard when I was trying to convince my father that the death of a cat was as important as the death of a person, and that cats did go to heaven, and I would see Buffy again one day, and would Dad please tell Mom that, because she was not listening to my efforts to comfort myself over Buffy’s death, nor was she offering me any comfort. The devoted mom who raced to comfort me over a skinned knee was incapable of comforting me over the death of my pet.

It wasn’t that she didn’t want to. It was because she had lost her own natural born son, the only one she would ever, could ever bear to a bad road accident in icy winter conditions, and she had pushed that unfortunate death deep down inside of her so she could get through the stuff of the everyday for the rest of her life. I did not understand that at the age of eight. Nor did I understand when Dad said I should believe what Mom told me, because she was the authority on God in our Lutheran family.

Broken hearted I gave up. I gave in. I surrendered what I knew to be a truth to what my parents said and believed. And then I forgot that I had betrayed my own spirit by doing so in getting through the stuff of the everyday – living with a faith that no longer felt right, dealing with my sibling’s irrational bursts of anger, and just getting through school.

For the rest of my life I held on to grief, but I forgot why. I questioned everything I had been taught about God, but I forgot why. It took many, many years to begin to remember, and then I could see the gift in everything that had ever happened to shape my life.


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