Letting go of ‘should’ opens up possibilities for love

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Let all that you do be done in love. –  1 Corinthians 16:14

This week I said goodbye to my wife’s grandmother. At 96 years old, Mom-Mom lived a full life, with 5 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

She died peacefully in the living room of her son’s home, a home she once owned, surrounded by loving family.

Mom-Mom passed in the early hours of the morning, long before most people are awake. When my wife woke me up to let me know what was happening, I immediately thought of my 10-year-old son.

I wondered whether or not I should wake him up and bring him over with us. I felt this incredible pressure to do the right thing.

Countless scenarios were running through my mind. Like many parents who have a decision to make regarding a child, my stomach was churning as soon as my eyes opened.

I decided to take some time, check in with my family, and let the decision breathe.

We live next door to, and share the same yard with, our uncle’s home, where Mom-Mom was resting. I knew that my son was safe and that we were close by if he needed me.

I was able to walk back and forth to check on my son as he slept. When I checked on him the first time, I saw my son sleeping peacefully, with a smile on his face.

I knew that he had only fallen asleep a few hours ago. It was then that I decided that it was best for him to get a good night’s rest.

I rejoined my family next door with a sense of peace about my decision. As I stood at Mom-Mom’s bed, I prayed for serenity, and for a joyful, easy transition.

I thought of how many blessings this tiny lady had bestowed upon us all. I thought of her wise decisions to purchase real estate on the West side of Los Angeles, 50 years ago.

I could see the ripple effects of her life, including the blessing of my own family.

As I walked back, across the yard, to check in on my son again, I had a realization about life.

I realized that there really was no right answer as to whether or not to wake my son. I saw that it was a matter of making a loving choice, the one that felt right, and then blessing the situation.

I recognize that I have, in the past, placed tremendous pressure on myself to make the right choices in life, as a parent, an educator, a friend.

There are times when I have placed undue stress on already challenging situations by allowing the fear of being wrong to dominate my thinking. This was an opportunity to let myself off the hook.

I breathed into my heart, and let myself know that everything was OK. I felt a weight lift off my body as I returned to stand beside Mom-Mom, and the rest of my wife’s family, at this sacred time.

I recognized that life is for living and learning as you go. For nearly 100 hundred years, Mom-Mom had done just that.

As this gratitude filled my being, it was as if life was reflecting my inner reality. The room seemed to light up as we shared laughter and appreciation for the great woman that Mom-Mom was, and is.

Mom-Mom went with her gut, and was a fighter. She loved her family and friends, music and dancing.

I was able to tap into a deeper recognition of the inherent goodness in life by shifting out of the thought, “What should I do?” and into the question, “What is the loving thing to do?”

As I did, I could feel the love, behind all of life, holding us in the arms of grace. Mom-Mom taught me to go easy on myself, and make the loving choice.

In the end, love is going to make the biggest impact in the world, and have the biggest effect on our children. I am grateful for the gift of life, and for the gifts that Mom-Mom has shared with all of us.

Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District.  He is also co-host of the popular radio show, Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed, live each week at 3 p.m. on www.UnityOnlineRadio.org.