the bitter

“I came to the conclusion that I had to love her enough to let her hate me.”
Carol Burnett’s reflection over having to put her daughter in rehab
for a third time)

(blooming spring /Julie Cook / 2018)

I recently caught a snippet of a transcript based on an interview with Carol Burnett—
an interview she had given regarding her life and relationship with her late daughter.

Carol Burnett, now age 85, was always known for her hilarious comedic performances and
her signature pulling of her ear at the end of each performance.
She lived, however, away from the laughter and the hijinks, a tenuous and even painful life
as a mother.

Her daughter Carrie died from cancer in 2002.
She was only 38 years old.

But before the cancer, before there was a reconciliation between mother and daughter,
as a teen, Carrie suffered from a variety of addictions.

Carol paid for rehab after rehab yet it was the third time Carrie was sent to rehab that
Carol came to the hardest realization for any parent…
“I put her in a third rehab place, and oh my God, she hated me.
I came to the conclusion that I had to love her enough to let her hate me.

That one sentence speaks volumes.

To love enough, to be hated.

Loving someone enough only to realize that that love will not be met immediately in like kind—
but rather offering an open and abiding love which is to be met with vehemence,
resentment and even hate…
a love that is the epitome of the bitter reality of unconditional love…
is the most wrenching pain, for any parent, grandparent or guardian imaginable.

Painful and heartbreaking love offered freely, yet scornfully rejected.

We, as parents and grandparents, and even guardians, learn early on that we often have to love
our children and our grandchildren enough to watch them leave us for whatever reason…
be it simply due to moving away, growing up and away, illness or to the tough love as
they must be sent away to seek healing and help…

Watching them go, for whatever reason, knowing the pain and sorrow it wrecks upon our
own hearts, yet knowing that the going is the best solution or need for them is one of
the hardest acts a parent/grandparent must ever experience.

Imagine…a loving Father surrendering His only son to a known negative fate.

If you knew the outcome would be horrific, could you do it?

If you knew he would be hated, hounded, rejected, tortured and eventually murdered—
all for the sake of “other children” who had long severed all ties with
this loving Father….could you do it?

A consciously painful action that is truly quite unimaginable to grasp…

I know that my own heart has hurt.
Deeply and devastatingly so.
And so if my heart has nearly been broken, what of God’s…
What of God’s breaking heart?

What of Mary who knew that same pain of loving yet having to let go unto a fate
much greater than most could ever imagine or conceive?

And yet we will always choose love…
Love that is not met in like kind.

Because it is what love does.

Love, as the bitter taste of saline silently rolls down
our cheeks.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that
is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:35-39

19 comments on “the bitter

  1. says:

    Beautiful words and very thought provoking. Happy Mother’s Day, my friend.

  2. Tricia says:

    Good stuff Julie, as always. A good chunk of love is caring enough about the other person to put their needs above one’s own discomfort. Having those difficult conversations when a loved one has strayed ca sure b awfully uncomfortable but essential to properly love.

    Carol Burnett has always been one of my favs. She seems so real.

    • thanks Tricia—I was thinking about how sad I will be when Autumn goes back to Atlanta to be at her home there versus our temporary home here, when Abby finally finishes up the school year. How hard it will be for her to leave our daily life here but how much she and her mom and dad all need to be united under one roof together as a little family unit.
      How my heart will break but I know it is best…and it was with all of that floating around in my heart when I’d read the Carol Burnett interview and thought—“yep, that’s it—you’ve got to love enough to_____” filling in the blank with whatever the loving enough entails—in Carol’s case it was a rehab issue.
      So each have our ‘loving enough til it hurts’ issues…
      So if my heartache can be almost unbearable, I think of God and that of Mary…and imagine their own…

  3. Tricia says:

    Autumn is very blessed to have you as a grandmother. Happy Mother’s Day. 🙂

  4. Salvageable says:

    Carol Burnett’s variety show is on my short list of the best television ever. How sad that she had such pain in her personal life. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. Happy Mothers’ Day to you. J.

    • Oh mine too—my mom and I use to watch it together–mother laughing til tears ran down her face—
      Thank you my friend and a happy Mother’s day as well to the women in your life!

  5. So powerful, Julie!! Yes, this kind of love is the kind that God has for His creation. So profound. You bring tears of gratitude to my eyes with your description! Happy Mother’s Day, dear Julie!! ❤ ❤

  6. Wally Fry says:

    Happy Mother’s day my friend.

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