In a Handful of Hours

Are you familiar with the saying, “What a difference a day makes”? I’ve had many days I’ve thought about that saying over the years. Be it for weather, nerves about a test, an upcoming interview, whatever you are most grateful was over with or resolved. The same holds true with feelings. In that split nanosecond when someone cuts you off on the highway, and you become enraged, to the relief in finding your wallet dropped in the car instead of the mall parking lot you left an hour ago. Feelings can complicate, enhance, repair and rip apart your soul. Time can be all-powerful and begin to mend them. Sometimes in a day or in my case, surprisingly, just a handful of hours. In my case, it was wee hours of the morning.

We had a pretty bad day. Like many uncomfortable events, it started with a misunderstanding and grew in tension that became so thick, a knife was useless. It would have required a chainsaw to carve through. When siblings lock horns, and feelings become fragile splintered glass needles. It is difficult for parents to navigate or offer advice. In our case, when one is leaving, moving out of state for a new job, a new beginning, ready to write chapters all her own. Yet the other sister is staying on, finishing undergrad work, looking at a path in a different direction next year. You do not want them to depart in anger. Oh, time will heal the harsh words and hurt feelings, but the relationship will be frayed, not torn, but damaged nonetheless.

As I crawled into bed, feeling terrible that nothing I could say or offer would be accepted. No mothers soothing words and kisses on the forehead can erase this kind of pain. The ache inside me grew but I knew they had to figure this out without me.  A few hours later as the light from my cell phone directed my way to get a drink of water, I found a note. Just a few words I could make out on the bright screen in the darkness. All was forgiven. Everything was right in the world. Immediately the weight on my shoulders lifted, it suddenly began to rain. A cool breeze flowed through the house and the air was lighter. When I went back to bed, it was with a smile on my face. Our little family was whole again.

That night, our children (funny isn’t it, no matter what their age, they will always be our ‘children’) healed one another’s feelings and hearts. Apologies were both given and accepted. They listened and actually heard what the other one said, how they felt and the why behind the words. They laughed and supported, cried and ultimately became stronger and better sibling to the other. I can not wish for anything more than that can I? It means the world to me that each has the other to lean on, be with and ultimately grow old together when I’m gone. To be honest, not having a sibling makes me feel a little lost in this world.

I miss my brother terribly, who I only had a relationship with for a handful of my adult years. In part thanks to a bitter relative who walked away and chose to carry anger and misunderstanding tightly inside. I can’t fix it, nor can I reach out more than I’ve tried in the past. But for my own daughters, seeing hurt and anger between them cut me deeply. I’m so proud that during the formidable years, with a little nudging, encouraging communication and growth to understand one another nurtured a special relationship. They were actually listening all along! How about that?

It is my hope we all can come together, feel the pain of the other, then figure out the path toward healing.

Our family is not unique, although it is stronger than some, yet my husband has always said, we know what needs to be done. We know the why and it is the listening and accepting how the other feels that is the key. To continue to love one another through that is the magic. And caring enough to go through storm after storm is the faith in family. Recognizing who the individual is as they are, not to change them into what YOU want them to be, but to help them be the best they can critical. Difficult true, but not impossible. I know that now.

How deeply emotional, yet healing and all-encompassing this experience has been. I am still amazed at what was learned in just a handful of hours. It is life changing. Just as life can change with an unexpected apology, “I’m deeply sorry I hurt you” or when a beloved member of the family unexpectedly dies, and you are blindsided with grief, it turns one’s life in an instant. It changes. It can change for the better in precisely the same amount of time. To be mindful and accept those moments are indeed a step toward if not enlightenment, serenity.

Breathe Deep, Think Peace


About Patricia Young

Patricia Young spent most of her life in the Northeast. Before the casinos arrived and many of the safety rails installed, she would hike Bushkill Falls and enjoy time in a little cabin by Meadow Lake near the Delaware Water Gap. The school year was spent in New Jersey, but many summers were spent in Mississippi where she wandered in the woods, rode horses, and read piles of comic books with cousins. After graduating from college with a degree in education, she taught fifth grade in Bayside, Queens. When rent climbed to high for her salary she working for the defense industry in Yonkers before starting a small business called, The Giving Tree Day Care. For fifteen years she was "held hostage by two-year-olds!" Writing every day in a notebook for each child to keep communication open to each family. Fast forward to the spring of 2013 diagnosed with severe carpal tunnel syndrome (she does NOT recommend having both hands done at the same time! Often wondering "What was I thinking?!") Physical therapy and time slowly began the healing process and gardening strengthened her hands. After an unexpected, but a deeply personal journey to Montana in the fall of 2013 she decided it was time to reinvent herself and embrace her fondness for writing. With renewed confidence, and a plan to do the work necessary to become a writer, she began writing every day (with the help of - thank you Kellianne and Buster!), submitting to a variety of magazines and contests to practice the craft. Attending writing retreats, workshops, lectures, taking classes, reading and immersing herself in the process. She began to work with writers and authors in the tri-state area. Currently living in Westchester New York Patty lives with her husband of 32 years, two dogs, two fish, and one cat in a little Cape Cod. The laughter, love, and support are plentiful. Patty has completed her first novel presently called "Northeast of 80". Working with her genre editor, she hopes and dreams and keeps fingers crossed to find an agent in the fall of 2019. You are invited to join her on this journey of a writer. To experience her trials, successes and stumbles along the way. Please share your own stories and maybe we can untangle some of the complexities of this writers life together. Breathe Deep, Think Peace
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