Articles, Caroline Sutherland

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Healing the Emotional Heart

By: Caroline Sutherland

Everyone has wounds. We wouldn’t be human without them. I believe that illness is the manifestation of unresolved emotional wounds. Therefore, healing the emotional heart is where the deepest level of personal self mastery resides. You can climb the mountain of your own spiritual journey if you can forgive. Here’s my own forgiveness story. 

Maybe you’re like me. Perhaps you perceive that you have had a difficult childhood. Maybe you weren’t heard as a child, maybe you weren’t validated, maybe you did not feel loved and appreciated. Can you relate to this story?

For as long as I could remember, my mother and I had never been close. I’m sure she held me as a young child and of course she loved me, but as I was growing up and into adulthood, I never felt connected to her.

Over the years, I always envied my girlfriend’s relationships with their mothers. I would look at the spark between two generations of women – the sharing, laughing, confiding and I wish I had that. We seemed to try to meet, mother and I but it never really happened.

As time wore on, I abandoned any idea of a meaningful relationship with her. Happily, I married and gave birth to two beautiful daughters with whom I am very close. Now adults themselves, I consider them my best friends. This, I reasoned was worth the distance that I felt with my own mother. Still, I thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful if there could be a healing between me and Mom before she died.

Every night for fifteen years, I sent a loving prayer to my mother – that was the least I could do. I tried to focus on the good things I felt about my mother - her courage since the death of my father, her independence and desire to do things for herself, her love of classical music and most important, her strong faith and regular church attendance, the foundation of my own spirituality.

Then, the day before I was to leave for a speaking engagement, I got a panic call from my sister. “Come quick, Mom’s in the emergency ward – she’s just had a stroke.” As I sped to the hospital I thought, OK, this is it. Maybe she’ll just die and this whole thing will be over. I peered over the steel bars on the hospital bed to see this pale, frail woman, my mother, seemingly comatose. I said a prayer, Thy will be done, O Lord.

“She has had a massive stroke,” the doctor said. “Her whole left side has been affected. Fortunately, we have her on a brand new IV procedure designed to break up the clot in her carotid artery, which is affecting the flow of oxygen to her brain. Let’s hope it works.”

I looked down at Mom, her eyes fluttering, her speech slurred. Could she respond?

“Squeeze my hand,” the nurse said. No response. “Lift your leg,” she encouraged.

No response. We all waited, watched and chatted with low voices and grave faces as the IV monitor blipped its vital signs.

The nurse reappeared. “Mary,” she said, “Who is that standing beside you?” “That’s my daughter Caroline,” she said in a clear voice. “Can you squeeze your left hand?” She squeezed it perfectly. “Lift your left leg.” No problem. It was a miracle. Just twenty minutes before, things had looked bleak. Now she was responding well.

Shortly after this near fatal stroke, she was living in her own home and gaining strength. She used a walker – wobbly and frail but she was determined. This was a whole new chapter.

Gone was the brittle distant woman with her judgments and criticism. Gone was the person I resented visiting. I welcomed my mother into my heart.

We didn’t have much time – maybe weeks, maybe months. Who knew? We had  a wonderful time. I could stroke her hair, kiss her cheek, hold her hand and tell her I loved her and mean it. Our relationship was an answer to a prayer. I took her swimming and did her errands. It was a pleasure. Once when I took her swimming, the lifeguard lowered the handicapped chair into the pool. As I helped my mother out of the chair and into the water, I held her in my arms. I looked up and said “Thank-you God, at last I can be close with my mother.”

The metaphysics of this relationship were obviously very karmic. My mother and my father were the perfect parents for me. Throughout my younger life the lack of connection with them was deeply wounding but it has led me to establish deep connections with many people and to be a healing presence for them.

The goal of the universe is that our birth families provide the “perfect” backdrop for the evolution of the soul. My mother continued to live for another four years. We spent many happy times together. It took all that time for me to love and forgive her despite her human failings and lack of support or acknowledgement of my intuitive gifts. During that time as she was progressing on her spiritual journey, I was progressing on mine.

Miraculously a book, The Evolution Angel by Doctor Michael Abrams came into my hands. A concept stood out in the book in Chapter 5 describing the fact that each person begs, yes begs, to be born. This idea that I had begged to be born of this woman, transported me to a deeper level of healing and appreciation with my mother.

The day I read that book, I decided to go to the nursing home and spend time with my mother a little differently. I would visit after dinner. I carefully brushed her dentures, washed her face and got her ready for bed. I made this into a spiritual practice; recognizing her role and for giving me life. Then we would do Vespers together. I took out her Bible, Hymnal and prayer book. We looked up the psalm of the day and my mother would read it. Then we would read the proscribed Bible passage and we marked favorite hymns and sang them together. It was an incredibly bonding time. I let my intuition lead me.

When she died two weeks before her 88th birthday, my sister and I were by her side. The healing job was done - Mom and I were both at peace.

In reviewing this situation and now with the knowledge I currently possess I know that a large part of my mother’s personality peculiarities were hormonally related. She was a healthy vital woman who had a child, my younger brother, late in life at the age of 42. I remember a time while she and my father were living in India when she was rushed to the hospital late one night bleeding excessively. I realize now that this was a progesterone deficiency – a reason for heavy bleeding. When a woman is estrogen dominant and progesterone deficient, she can become anxious, bitchy, mean, and nasty. Through no fault of her own and a tragic medical oversight my mother’s symptoms were never treated.

I hope that my story will help you to ponder your own life and your relationships more deeply. Let’s keep the focus on ways to get you healthy, renew your vitality and stamina and live your best life.

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