Silence

After my ex walked out in 2009, my relationship with my oldest son started to slowly deteriorate. The wall my son began building between the two of us would stand tall for the next 9 years serving to block me from his life. Brick by brick, stone by stone, that wall rose higher. The stones not thrown at me were placed one on top of the other in that wall, becoming more and more impenetrable as time wore on. Slammed doors, fist through walls, hateful stares, harsh words and silence — and up went the wall higher and higher.

While he kept his silence I kept mine too. But my silence was different.

His silence was full of anger, confusion, doubt — and I believe love, which he truly wanted to show at times but decided it safer to stay behind his wall so he could not be hurt anymore.

My silence served to protect — and came out of a place of love only a mother can know. My silence was out of protection against anymore confusion and doubt, in hopes of keeping him from more hurt and pain. My silence was not done with contempt, it was only done out of love.

The silence from both of us grew over the years and I’ve wanted nothing more than to break it wide open, but have been lovingly encouraged to wait. To wait for my son to be the one to break that silence and have him ask to hear my words, my story — wait for him to tear down the wall.

And it’s been a long wait — so painfully long — until this past weekend.

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My son’s wall has finally come down after all these years, at least part way, and he is starting to allow me into his life again — little by little, piece by piece. He has said he feels burned by his family and I can feel the struggle he has to trust and allow me — or anyone — into his corner of the world. And I find myself still tiptoeing warily around those fallen stones for fear of stumbling and failing yet again. My words are spoken with trepidation — said gingerly and softly as if to test the waters on how far in I can wade before being pulled under by anger or swallowed up by silence.

Last weekend I drove four hours to see my son in hopes of reconnecting and closing the distance which had come to feel like a chasm between us — and break the silence which I could no longer bear. How I prayed to be able to speak those unspoken words within the silence which hold the key to unlocking the past and hopefully healing wounds.

I wish I could say the silence was broken, but there is still much to be said. There is a story to be told which I have kept silent for almost a decade — a story worth sharing now that the stones have been laid down and the wall lay in ruins.

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Our time spent together last weekend was more of just being — coming together after all these years. Just my son and I. He talked of his life and he shared parts of himself I did not know — hurts, struggles, uncertainties about life. Perhaps he was opening the door a little for me to share also, but breaking that silence I have kept all these years is not so easy. I too hold back out of fear of pushing him away. So, for now, one day at a time. I will continue to patiently pray and wait for the door to swing open wider while continuing to love him as only a mother can and grasp tightly to the love he is able to give right now. This is all I can do as I wait in the silence.

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