“How do you know what is right and wrong?” I ask my two granddaughters, Riley 11 and Emily 9.
“People have different opinions. Also, nobody thinks the same thing,” says Emily in her confident tone.
“When you’re doing something wrong, you feel guilty but when doing something right you feel good,” older sister Riley adds.
“Nothing is right and nothing is wrong…you arn’t perfect all the time,” says Emily with a knowing smile about herself.
“Sometimes you don’t relize your doing something wrong or right until after,” replies Riley. These are the exact words (and spelling) they wrote in my journal so I could write (right?) this essay and not be wrong about what they said.
“There are times I have felt guilty when I wasn’t doing anything wrong,” I say, responding to Riley’s opinion. “When I was young I felt guilty for dancing behind my mother’s back, as she forbade her children to participate in such worldly activities, even movies and card playing with a poker deck.”
Riley’s wise brown eyes and Emily’s gray-blue eyes looked into my light blue eyes with silent understanding.
Is it wrong to say more?
Their wisdom feels so sweet. You can stop reading now if you think it is right for you.
My heart wants to share my visit to be with my ex-husband Gregory yesterday, who has struggled with alcoholism and smoking for many years, and why I had to leave him in 1998. I consider him my soul mate, maybe because during our rocky time together I met my own soul by grieving my childhood pain that our intimate partners trigger in all of us…yet my three previous marriages had not so clearly or deeply. Being a psychotherapist, I was able to connect to a place in my heart that I had shut away and was not aware that had existed.
Gregory had quadruple bypass surgery 7 weeks ago and is 97 days sober, so he was present with me in ways he could never be while drinking. With his elderly parents present for the two-hour visit, I shared photos of my family as well as the national park post card scrapbook I had made with Riley and Emily a few days before. Each had made their own scrapbook from the many post cards I had collected from two cross-country trips with my two daughters, hiking and camping in nearly 40 national parks, including one trip traveling cross-country with Gregory. He especially appreciated the scrapbook, being the sensitive man I loved and married. Some family members had warned me not to marry him and some disliked him.
When we parted yesterday, we held each other tightly, me crying as I said, “I love you
Gregory and always will; I am so sorry we could not make it together.” He saying, “I love
you because of the tears you gave me.” That can only be right!