My spiritual awakening rolled-out in three phases. First my son. Then myself. Then O’s mom. Once I accepted the reality of our marriage, it wasn’t long before I found my mom at the center of our emotional turmoil. Unresolved anger and resentment were deep-rooted, starting when I was six months old and mom left me with my dad’s large, dysfunctional family in Wisconsin to help dad move their stuff down from Alaska.

As I unearthed more memories of my time as a husband and father, my shame forced me to confront an undeniable truth. Imagine my surprise to see my mom staring back at me each time I hurled awful words at the woman I loved. The woman I vowed to cherish, honor and protect. Forever. To add painful irony to the tale, I’d been working my way back since April. At any time along the way, I could have leaned into the truth, taken responsibility for my actions and apologized without reservation. It took the terror of losing her forever in August and an angrily accurate email in September to spur my final metamorphosis in October. The truth may hurt, but it also empowers.

I took these new revelations to my mom the next time we chatted via Skype. She leaned back at first and then slowly nodded. Yes, of course that’s true. Avoidance of maternal abandonment issues is natural. Predictable even. We’ve been tight for years, relying on each other as we each negotiated our tough individual treks through Purgatory. That’s the only way to describe the life of an empath who can only turn that ability on the outside world. Hiding devastating facts from ourselves came much too easily and brought a heavy price for everyone involved. Breaking through that wall of denial and reaching the other side seems like another miracle. Most of these stories end in tragedy vice a fragile state of hope.

My relationship with my mom continues to strengthen. Even more so now. There only remains the open question of finding forgiveness with my son’s mom for over a decade of unforgivable words and irrational behavior. My mom counsels patience. Let her decide when it’s time for that conversation. Trust her. Finally. With my life to be sure, but that doesn’t make the wait easier. The uncertainty. The fear. The steady beat of the ticking clock. More wasted time? Not if I get a chance to do something about it. Will I get that chance? Seems the jury is still out. Hell, I don’t even know if court is in session. This entire journey has been in darkness.

Perhaps that is the ultimate lesson to be learned? For the first time in our long relationship, I’ve let go of anything even remotely resembling control. Except for this website. I’m going for evolution not insanity. A writer has to write to process. We must write to heal. I’d love to speak these truths someday soon as well. To rebalance the Universe, certain apologies must be said aloud. Our story isn’t finished. Not yet. I can’t begin to guess the ending, but I know what I’d write. I can only hope she believes redemption is both possible and preferable to the sad alternative already in motion.