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Letting Go


I feel fine, she told me, as we watched her ten year old walk and then run along side the length of the fence bordering the dirt road.  She had turned to the car without saying goodbye, not looking back on a decision made long ago to give him the best education she could afford, even if it meant leaving him.  Even if she would have to turn her face as he ran alongside the car up on the hill until we turned out of sight.

We learn how to miss each other, the shopgirl told me days later, when I was standing in the airport, staring at overpriced crafts, wondering how I would ever get on the plane and put ten thousand miles between me and the ones I love.  We each have our reasons, the salesman argued, when I claimed I did not want to go, even though it was long past time.

You will come back soon, the woman working security said, running through the pages of my passport, taking note of my face, long and pained.

I am learning again and again how little I know of what life requires.  Don't you know this is life, Alex told me on the phone the morning I packed and left, to say goodbye to those we love?

I didn't know, I wanted to say, but I am learning.  I didn't know there was a grace and miracle to be had in letting go.


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Reader Comments (87)

jen, these posts...they leave me speechless.
February 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphyllis
thank you.
February 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterliz elayne
tears in my eyes
February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHashi
It's the only consistent theme of my life - letting go. There is nothing for it but to fall into it and trust that I can live without whatever it is that my heart yearns to hold close. It always can, because I really am my own solid ground and we really are always together.
February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarianne
So often I feel like my mother--wanting to have and to hold all my loved ones at once--to see them all happy and safe under my roof. To not want to let anyone go at the end of the night. Letting go is so hard.
February 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJen Lee
Beautiful words here, Jen.
February 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlittlepurplecow
Oh, wow. I love this post. What beautiful, honest & true words. And the image: haunting. Thank you. This is art. is Life. Bless you. You are a Special Woman.
February 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeisa Hammett
oh gosh these words really get me. in so many ways.
thank you.
Having just left my boys with their father again, less than 24 hours ago, I share in this feeling of letting go. Of doing what you know is best for those you love while it stabs at every breath and every beat of your heart aches.

It's a neverending battle between my heart and my head.
April 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKrystyn
Hi Jen, I remember when you told me few years ago in Cape Town, Cape Quater @ The Nose Restaurant that you would one day come to Africa to see how people lived & therefore, see how you could help. Those humbling words did not end in a mere story but in reality. Indeed it seems inhuman for a loving, kind and generous person to say good bye to the people s/he is so passionate about. Letting go physically does not really matter, what counts is carrying the ones you love in your heart and spirit everywhere you are....
April 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary

because in letting go you teach all of us the new ways to grow...because in braving living your story you are showing all of us how much more there is to
because in expanding our sense of friendship, you've helped instill in me deeper hope, deeper convictions, deeper knowing there's no limit to what love can do.
i want to tell a revised story from the above (my link) when there's moments to hear it more...

but as one token of how your woven tapestry of life with Odette and Lilian and Grace, here's my hug of thanks for you all....

today you will all embrace.

and hearts will overflow.....everywhere....and the world will feel it.

because you love....
April 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertresha thorsen
Goodness... this is just beautiful.
April 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbarbra novac
This entry has moved me to tears. What a beautiful and heartbreaking story of a mother's love...
Thank you for sharing.
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