I am sitting on a balcony overlooking cobblestone streets. The streets are bustling with Peruvian woman carrying brights hues of alpaca woven scarves. The air is just so and the gentle breeze is the perfect combo of cool and hot.
I just finished getting my SIM card. A task that is not for the faint of heart.
4 stores later 2 1/2 hours and I finally figured out the secret.
If 10 people say no there is always someone who will say yes.
In this case the nicest man in a Radio Shack understood my charades enough to take on the challenge. He went to the Claro store with me helped me purchase a SIM card. No one in the city had the iPhone 5 chip. We purchase the sim he goes back to the store and cuts it just so!
Wa la peanut butter sandwich I am connected.
So I blog sitting here at a cute little cafe in Peru.
There really are not words to describe what this trip means to me as a motherless daughter and a parentless parent.
When I arrived yesterday I met author Hope Edelman for the first time.
I have to admit I was star struck. Sitting in this cozy little living room of our hotel lobby she gave me a warm welcome hug.
I was 22 when I first read her book Motherless Daughters. I had just lost my mother after 11 years of caring for her and throw the murder of my father on top of that.
I could not get out of bed. The compound grief I felt was crippling.
Her book acted as a manual for my grief. Hope took the alien out of mother loss and helped me understand from her book that what I was feeling was completely normal.
Slowly I began to feel the sun on my face again. I started to smell the flowers. But I was different.
Everything about me was different. I was an orphan.
Alone in this big world I would spend the next 2 decades of my life figuring out how to parent myself.
I would seek counseling. I would date men that I knew were not right for me. I would become like a turtle in a shell trying to go out into this big world with my head out only to tuck back into safety.
I was alone.
Sure there was help. Lots of people in my life but I learned that help came with all sorts of strings attached.
In the end all I really had was myself and at the end of the day I had to learn that I was enough.
So I joined Motherless daughter groups.
I remember so clearly the exercise the leader gave me.
She handed me a piece of paper with an empty cup.
She said,” I want you to fill this cup with all the things that make you you”.
I looked at that paper and I could not think of one thing to fill my cup with. Not one.
I hung the photo copy of the empty cup on the fridge and I made it my mission to fill it. Slowly I filled it.
Coffee with friends was one of the first things that I filled my cup with.
Each time I found that thing that was me I put it in the cup. I added a lot of color.
I went back to the motherless daughter group and this time the leader sat us in a circle. All woman, motherless daughters. She had us tell our stories. They were tragic. There were woman of all ages. As we went around the circle I saw woman twice my age. Their marriages failing, their kids caught in the middle and the common theme was they didn’t deal with the grief they felt after their loss. It was crippling them like poison seeping into their marriages and keeping them stuck like a fly on sticky tape.
Suddenly it clicked! If I didn’t deal with these losses that was the path I would be on.
I quickly dumped the guy I was dating that was not good for me and I decided I was dating myself. I read every book I could find on grief and loss. I journaled and I walked. With each step the healing came.
So 20 years later and half a lifetime I sit here alone blogging from a cafe about a journey I started so long ago. A journey of healing and learning to parent myself. A journey that has at times made me feel like no one gets me.
I was wrong these woman on this trek get me and there are so many more woman and men out there that understand what it feels like to loose your parents young. It changes everything you thought you knew about yourself. You feel deeper, you understand that life is no joke. That our time here is short. That it is so important to make it count. To give with absolutely no strings attached.
To love deeply, to laugh often and to turn your grief into service and action.
That is what this trip means to me.
There are no words to describe being with woman who completely understand this loss. There are no words needed It’s just in the room. Feeling incredible grateful for this opportunity. For these woman and for all of you who donated to help the children we plan to service!
This is my attempt to sum up this experience when it’s hard to find the words. Thank you for reading.