“You can love someone and still choose to say goodbye to them,” she says now. “You can miss a person every day, and still be glad that they are no longer in your life.” – Tara Westover
This statement by Tara Westover got me diving straight into her memoir, Educated.
First I learned of a world, a Mormon family in the mountains of Idaho, that paralleled in time to mine but sounded to my foreign ears like a tale from a distant past.
Then when Westover shows that love trickles even through the abusive and controlling family relationships from which she painfully left, it confronts me with two of life’s paradoxes that feel impossible to hold.
First, people can love us deeply and hurt us with their best intentions.
Second, we may remove ourselves from those relationships in spite of love, as Westover shows by example, though initially not without guilt towards the people we cut off.
And she also shares how she found her ground:
“I shed my guilt when I accepted my decision on its own terms, without endlessly prosecuting old grievances, without weighing his sins against mine. Without thinking of my father at all. I learned to accept my decision for my own sake, because of me, not because of him. Because I needed it, not because he deserved it.”
– Educated: a memoir, Tara Westover