Am I Ready to Die with an Open Heart?

Looking back over the last 6 years,

my mother’s decline into alcoholics dementia

and her death,

has me in a very introspective place.

Her death is giving me a new perspective.

My mother was a life long alcoholic.

She was an unhappy woman.

After her death were no cards or calls from her friends.

She did not have friends.

She was an introverted, reclusive, alcoholic,

and she could be mean.

I am thinking of her life and her death and it has me thinking;

Will I die the way my mother did;

mostly alone?

Am I living the life that I want to live?

Am I happy?

Am I giving my son the gift of unconditional Love?

Am I really?

My mother’s death begs these questions.

Am I ready to die with an open heart

and a life well lived, being left behind?

Am I?

Are any of us?

Peace,  Jen

~ by Step On a Crack on January 23, 2012.

32 Responses to “Am I Ready to Die with an Open Heart?”

  1. I think the fact you’re asking the questions shows your heart is open to whatever life will give you. Peace to you darling…

    Live well.


  2. Hi Jen, I too have an alcoholic parent – my father. He is elderly and has lived the past 35 years in isolation. His thought patterns are greatly distorted by the amount of time he spends in his head and alone. He has alienated virtually everyone in his world, other than his kids, who only tolerate the time we spend with him. He is unpleasant to spend time with because he is so unrealistic, angry, messy, and controlling.

    How is this relevant to our conversation? Well…

    1. I can relate on some level to what you are going through with the impacts of your alcoholic parent.

    2. I too wonder how many of Dad’s ways I have unknowingly learned. I believe my foray in to active alcoholism, in spite of the fact that I despised his alcoholism and swore I would never do the same, is very telling that we learn from what we are exposed to, especially in our formative years. Yet, the mere awareness of this learning process is the basis for us to avoid picking up these habits from our families of origin.

    3. Let me assure you that there is more help available today for avoiding or overcoming these, shall we call them Generational Curses, than at any other time in recorded history. We have support groups, counseling, books, courses, and web resources in abundance.

    I do not believe you have to follow the same path. And I would not even imagine that you are necessarily on the same path as your mother. Did your mother connect with others striving to get and remain healthy like you are? I know my Dad didn’t but I did. I got sober and sane, while he didn’t . That tells me that I have the opportunity to steer my destiny in a different way than my father’s, even if I at one point was headed in the same direction.

    There is much to be hopeful for. There are many opportunities for us all. If we take them, we will not go down the same road as our parents.


    • Dear Chaz,

      Once again you show up with Wisdom:

      “I got sober and sane, while he didn’t . That tells me that I have the opportunity to steer my destiny in a different way than my father’s, even if I at one point was headed in the same direction.”

      That is the NUT of it. That and my God driving….

      Thank you SO much for being here.

      Peace, Jen


  3. Ah Jen, hmmm.. different but similiar, spending time with my brother had made me reflect on the different things we have taken from my father’s death and the different aspects of his life we have chosen to focus on. My dad could be a very angry and vengeful man at times at sadly that is the part of his life my brother finds it easier to value and continue.. I know I have at least a little of that too but I try to temper it and for sure there are times when I find myself reflecting on the path we each tread trying to reconcile our oppositions.


    • Isn’t it weird how two people can come from the same place and time and come away with such totally different takes? I am consistently boggled by the discrepancies with some family members. I have family who see it all the same way; others who do not.

      so be it ehh? I love the idea of choosing my family. I have a large extended family and a small genetic family. That works best for me. Sometimes that makes me sad but it makes life easier.

      blood being thicker than water…

      I have not found that to be true all of the time. I am grateful when it has been.

      Take care and thank you so much for stopping by!

      Happy trails,



  4. Oh, Jen, we all ask these questions at some time. Whether it’s wondering if we’ll end up looking like our mom or being like her we wonder. Sometimes those thoughts take us to dark places. I don’t believe for one minute you are or will be like your mom in those dark, angry, mean ways she was. I don’t believe it because you are intentionally charting a new road for you and your family. You are not leaving the wreckage she left. You see clearly what was and have taken another turn. One of educating the rest of us and one of loving your family. This verse applies to you perfectly: “what man meant for evil God used for good.” That’s you. That’s YOU!


  5. Oh sweetheart. Excellent questions. I know you will have oodles of people mourning the loss of our Dear Jen. You are a giver … and i hope you GET ENOUGH out of this world. You are cosmically loaded on the Giving Side. Equal out your journey … you deserve some big time “incoming” love.

    I love the questions: Are we really happy? Are we taking a different tack than you mum? Can we achieve that elusive happiness on this crazy-ass earth? Oh boy!

    Powerful. MUCH food for thought. I thank you dearie! One of the founding Warrior Women: I salute you and your brave heart! love mel


    • I think the older I get and the more time I spend with older women (70’s is young!) in the Sauna Club the more I REALLY think about this stuff. IT does count and I DO need to ponder it. Taking Inventory to a new level maybe…

      I Salute you BACK! AND

      here comes a


      XO Jen


  6. Yes, yes, yes! I believe you are and alwaya will be because you live your life in consciousness. Your mother did not. You live your life with care and concern. Your mother did not. You are an amazing and beautiful soul. I am so glad to have come across you and I now have this lovely addition to my life. You make a difference to me.
    Xox hugs.


  7. Hello my friend, the fact that makes you ask these questions makes you a better mom already because you are checking and correcting what needs to be corrected. That in my books makes you a good mother cause its not easier to look at yourself. I believe a good mother makes the best choice at that time, in whatever circumstances they are in and prays they were the right ones because you don’t know until the end if they are the right choices. I hope this helps and I have not offended you. Always in my prayers.


    • Mayia,

      YOU are in my prayers my Friend! I am watching closely. Hold your loved ones tight. I believe you speak from experience: We pray for guidance, move based on the word and it all works out. It might not look like WE wanted BUT the universe prevails.

      Not offended; ever.

      XO take care Lots of Care…



  8. Hello my friend, the fact that you ask these questions makes you a better mom already because you are checking and correcting what needs to be corrected. That in my books makes you a good mother cause its not easier to look at yourself. I believe a good mother makes the best choice at that time, in whatever circumstances they are in and prays they were the right ones because you don’t know until the end if they are the right choices. I hope this helps and I have not offended you. Always in my prayers.


  9. Here’s the thing: by being honest about all of this, you are already changing your path and insuring that you will be loved and not alone when you die. You have already changed the course of alcoholic parenting by choosing to be sober and live in a solution. Think how many people you help by writing about this stuff. I’m happy to call myself one of them. hearts, sean


    • Sean,

      Thank you for stopping by. I HAVE changed course. I trust that it will stay changed. THAT is the thing to focus on isn’t it?

      I love “living in a solution”

      XO Jen

      I have stuff listed on Craigs List RIGHT NOW! We are hoping to make it to YOUR PLAY!!! Break A leg, man. (an old thespian never dies..)


  10. What Chaz said!! I agree. You are making great choices, along with, I suppose some mistakes as we all are human. But your support of others who struggle shows me you certainly invest in others and you won’t be dying alone!

    So ask your son any questions. I find that works wonderfully well!


  11. As always, you have pushed me to think. I have had “being ready to die with an open heart” on my mind since I first read your post. I am struck by how often we think of an open heart as all things related to goodness and light, and not a place that is also open to the reality of a worst in ourselves and others.

    Maybe an open heart with a parent is in part about embracing their best and their worst, knowing that we are at risk of being held captive by either our determination to be “just like them” or “not at all like them”. That it can be freeing to acknowledge our own best and worst, knowing they both may contain shades of our parent. Thanks once again for your insight.


    • Paulann,

      That is it; my therapist gets the pink slip! You are amazing! thank you. It really IS about the best and worst. This is not a black or white thing (so easy to go there as an adult child of alcoholics) It is a Grey area. It is a grey area regarding my parents and their parenting (or lack thereof as the case may be…) which is PROBABLY in direct correlation to the parenting THEY received…

      Wow. Where do I send the Check??

      XO Jen


  12. You are not your mother, you are you, and you are who you choose to be at this very moment. Take your mind off of your own fears and desires and focus on service to others. That is the greatest purpose in life. You’ll be quite surprised at how much you’ll gain when you let go of it all. Ironically though, you won’t desire any of it anymore, because the service itself is so much more fulfilling.
    Peace & grace,


    • Miro,

      Thank you for being here!

      You are right. When I focus my heart on Being Here Now and Do What is Next, all is well. I am a mother. There is no higher calling.

      Prime Directive: be of use.

      That gets it done. When I am there I am in the Buddhist No Mind


      Peace, Jen


  13. Don’t doubt yourself
    You are strong
    And you are brave
    Don’t become
    Fear’s slave
    Just believe that you are stronger
    And you will rise above
    Carried up by love

    Andrea xoxo


  14. Jen, this is so moving and sad. I just want to send you a hug to show you that you’re loved, you brave girl (woman). And NO, we do not have to repeat our parents patterns. My mother died a few years ago–she was not an alcoholic, however she was isolated, miserable, consumed by her bitterness and resentment. I did not go to her memorial service–some people she’d known through a social organization apparently attended to show polite respect to my siblings. She’d pushed everyone including her children away, with her negativity and refusal to take any responsibility for her life. I’m not saying she didn’t have some hard things in her life–widowed twice, six children she was clueless about nurturing. I’m sorry she was so unhappy–and I learned something from her. I was determined that I would not finish out my life the way she did. I will turn 60 this year–and the past 10 months have been an epiphany for me. I feel younger than ever before–vital and full of joy, after living with chronic disabling depression all my life. I’m having “fun”, and “I like me”. This is nothing short of a miracle–the power of Christ to redeem and resurrect and renew–a modern day Easter story! I’m not here to preach–but maybe it’s something to consider. I will keep you in my prayers–may God comfort and bless you with brand new hope in Him.


    • Dear Caddo,

      Thank you for being here!

      It seems we had the same mother and I am so sorry. No one should have to go through that AND I try to be ever cognizant of the fact that SOMETHING pushed her to become who she became. I try.

      I seem to be hanging from the “Thomas Tree” swinging between doubt and faith.

      God intervened BIG TIME some time ago and because of Gods push and all the support I found HERE, I was able to find forgiveness for her on her death bed. ONE MOMENT of forgiveness but it was very real and that is what counts. (THAT moment comes and goes now BUT GOD granted it when it was needed most…)

      I wrote about my GOD Forgiveness Nudge here:

      God does work in mysterious ways and I am dragging my Thomas Feet along.

      Thank you very much for the reminder: there is Healing. There is Love.

      Peace, Jen


  15. I must be who I am.

    I must stop trying to avoid being who I don’t want to be.

    Or that person owns me.


  16. Peace, Jen. God bless & love always…


  17. I am ready to die. My heart is open, but empty. We are all alone and we all die alone, surrounded by others or not. It is something we face alone.


    • Dear Chloe,

      Thank you so much for stopping by.

      I see your point; there is the existential crisis that comes with death and life for that matter. We DO die alone and being there when loved ones have taken the big leap makes that all the more clear to me.

      I am hoping that you are able to find something in your life which will fill your heart. I am grateful for your presence here. That helps fill the empty spaces that exist in my heart.

      Thank you.

      Peace, Jen

      Come Back again OK?


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