When I signed up for this class, I didn’t expect it to be easy. I did expect it to be very emotional.

First, I am struck by how working with a small group has impacted me. I am usually not comfortable in groups and resist them, but being in this small group has given me a sense of community, accountability and sisterhood. Being with others who are sharing their innermost pain has been a humbling experience and in some ways, caused me to think that my experience was perhaps not as bad as others.

At times I found the homework exercises daunting and often didn’t start them until Thursday. Since I didn’t want to let the group down, I pushed through. To my surprise, I found that the exercise wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be and found myself “taking off” with it. Most of all, the exercises did expose thoughts and feelings that I have never verbalized and certainly never shared. And forcing myself through them taught me a lesson about stepping out of my comfort zone – things aren’t really as scary as I thought they would be. And that trying something different can be rewarding.

I have also gained acceptance of my mother being who she is. By actually writing her story down, a lot of things started to make sense – not that it made them okay – but I feel like I understand her a little bit more. I am so grateful that this has occurred while she is still alive and has helped me to actually appreciate her in some ways.

I realize I have said this over and over, but sharing the feelings and slights that I have struggled with over the years, has really taken a lot of power away from them. They have made me who I am today, and while I am not perfect, I am starting to allow myself to take credit for my accomplishments and successes.

Of course, the struggle will continue. Not just with EAM (emotional absent mother) issues but numerous life issues. This class has taught me and provided tools that will help me deal with them in a better, more kind-to-myself manner.