Life Goes On

“Life goes on…..ya know.”

An inspirational message written to me by my granddaughter, Olivia, for Christmas, one of twenty different ones, all neatly handwritten and numbered on lined note cards, tucked inside a hand-painted recipe box.

Taking advice from a 9 year-old seems silly, unless it is from one who has lost her dad to a drug overdose.  Unless it is from one who seldom sheds a tear in front of others, but nonetheless has suffered terribly.  Unless it is from one who hasn’t lived a typical life, but whose heartbreak allows her to dig deeper than others her age.  Unless it is from one whose intellect is well beyond her years.

We both loved someone who broke his promises, who lied to us, and who we couldn’t trust.  Each time we tried to believe, we ended up crushed, betrayed, and angry.  This is a piece of harsh reality no daughter or mother should have to accept.  Yet, we loved him, and when the next promise was made, we trusted without hesitation and with our whole hearts.  This is the pain of addiction at its worst.  The contradiction of it all is we knew he was worth loving, despite his broken promises.

She has his picture prominently placed in her room, along with one of his sports trophies.  She is like him in so many ways, but in truth she is more like me, only with an “attitude”.   She is deep, reflective, creative, and bossy.  She is a bit of a perfectionist (codependency trait showing up), and she’s beautiful.  She is both street smart and book smart, a formidable combination for a young girl.  She does not live an entitled life, like her father did, and it shows.

Her new thing lately has been to wear my yellow CU Buffaloes t-shirt tucked into her skinny high-waisted jeans.  I think I finally figured out why.  She wants to go to college there, like her Grandma Mary.  No one in her family has gone to college; most barely finished high school.  She is breaking into a new territory and she likes it.  She likes it a lot.

We have grieved for Cody together, Olivia and I, and in that sacred process we have become close.  A closeness so real, we have allowed each other to feel the deep loss in our own way and in our own time.  It has been 3 years since Cody died, and we have both valiantly tried to find a way to live in our new normal.

It’s simple, really.  Life does go on, whether we choose to move on or stay behind locked in the past.  We don’t have to like our reality, only accept it for what it is.  I can see that my granddaughter has moved on, and is asking me to move on with her.

Here’s to moving on in 2017.  Happy New Year!

Mary Cucarola – December 31, 2016

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