Love That Makes the Heart Burst
I spent three years with my father when his life declined with dementia. My mother came to that same spot soon after he passed. I spent the next five years caring for her. The time spent caring for both of my parents taught me to love deeply. I learned that love can fill your heart until it feels like it will burst. When you love someone, I realized you can move out of your self-induced barriers to serve them. I thought the things I did for my parents were beyond my ability. When you love someone, you willingly put your plans on hold. My life changed because I loved my parents.
My biological mother chose adoption and I was placed into foster care at birth. She should have loved me but didn’t or couldn’t. It had caused trauma, and although I grew up in a loving home, the damage was done. Love was hard for me. I learned kindness, empathy, and compassion, which I had confused for most of my life for love.
As a teenager, I would position myself to be separate from my family. During that time in my life I felt different from my family but not necessarily unloved. It was hard to open myself up and let people love me. There was an invisible divide between myself and the family who adopted and loved me that I could not close. I didn’t know how to feel love or allow someone to love me. It must have been incredibly difficult for my parents, which is just one of my regrets.
Taking care of my aging parents at the most vulnerable time in their life caused something to happen inside me. I believe that sometimes it takes a trauma to unearth a past trauma. It led to a lot of self-realization and change in me. From it, I learned to love my parents until it felt like my heart would just burst.