The unexpected transformation

Fair warning this blog post has nothing to do with being bikini bound. The transformation is not about body fat loss and muscle gain. I’m veering a little off of my path of training this week.  I’m in UCLA medical center with my children, my step-siblings, thier aunt, and thier dad’s best friend. Thier dad was the love of my mother’s life. They were together for 25 years and we are here helping him to let go and meet my mother on the other side. This man has had a profound impact on my life and as painful as this is. I would not want to be anywhere else. 

We met when I was 14 and we almost instantly despised each other. We both wanted the same thing: the undivided attention of the special spirit that was my mom. One of us had to lose, and at that point and for a very long time after, it was me. And my brothers. Bill was larger than life and consumed my mother. It was an obession for both of them that transcended this lifetime. 

In high school he would leave me eviction notices on my bedroom door. I totaled his brand new car in a 7 car pile up on the Garden State Parkway.  We were alternating versions of the Coyote and the Road Runner. But through all of the strife, we had a mutual respect for each other. The respect that warriors from opposing sides had for one another…..we were both strong, committed, and intent on one thing. Loving my mother and having her love us back more than anyone else. 

We moved out west, and our relationship continued as it had for years. Circling each other….finding some common ground here and there and settling in to acceptance. I left home, married, and had children.  And then the strangest thing happened. This man who had been my nemesis for years and the challenger for my mother’s heart had come to love and dote on the biggest pieces of my own heart: Jordan and Casey. 

He was no longer “Bill” (said with the great eye roll all the women in my family are famous for), he had become “Billy”. My children’s grandfather. The one closest in proximity and closest in relationship to them. They idolized him and he returned it to them in spades. I started to love him for that relationship. And I think he started to love me for bringing them in to his life. 

The kids got older and Billy and I spent more time together. We would laugh about the kids and we got to a place where we really started to enjoy being together. We could be in a room together without my mom and not be awkward or uncomfortable. I think my mother was so used to playing referee though that she continued to intervene in our relationship even though it was no longer necessary. She was an invisible barrier between the two of us, always keeping us at arms length from each other. 

My mother died, and Billy was still in my life. (Had someone told me that when I was 16 I would have slapped them!) I would call him and we would talk….about the kids, about missing my mom. Slowly we started to talk about ourselves. About business. About life. We had always had more in common that we cared to admit, but now we were standing on common ground really seeing each other for perhaps the first time. We had started out vying for the attention of my mother but that was like trying to grab on to smoke with your fists. She couldn’t be held by either of us, yet she was in, around, and part of us both. 

Watching this fearless man leave this shell  that no longer serves him is excruciating. Seeing my children sob at the thought of him no longer being here has shattered my heart into pieces.  Thinking that the last piece of my mother that I’ve clung to for the last ten years is about to leave me is almost unbearable. She was somewhat alive while he was still here. 

But those are all selfish thoughts. Knowing this man has transformed my life. My children would be different without him in their hearts.  I want him to be free and strong and released. And I want him to be with my mother again.  I know she’s missed him as much as I’ve missed her.  And it’s time they were together forever. 

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9 thoughts on “The unexpected transformation

  1. Lauren, I remember Bill and totally remember your adversarial relationship with him. Even while you were driving us around in one of his cars… Monte Carlo??? What a gift that you two became way more than just friends, and I am so sorry for your loss. Your post was so touching. You are an amazing writer!!

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  2. So proud to be your uncle after that simply & complex-stated missive.
    Heart-felt observations can be difficult to transform into words. You did it with such eloquence, reading this for the first time, someone would think your were a professional writer. Blessings to you, your children, & extended family, & all those who have gone before us, whose memory keeps us hoping for eternal reuniting with them.

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  3. Love you Lauren and I am truly sorry for your loss. Our families thoughts and prayers for you during this tough time! Families are eternal in nature and may you find peace and happiness in that knowledge!!!

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