My past is something that I’ve been running from for six years now. Typically I keep my thoughts and feelings to myself when it comes to my dad for many reasons:
1. It’s really difficult for people to find the “right” thing to say when you speak of loss, but really it’s more about the listening part than the speaking part. What I find interesting is that even though I have experience with difficult loss, I still find it hard being there for people who are going through the same thing. It shows how individualized the grief process is; when someone doesn’t handle grief the same way I do, I feel as though I’m doing more harm than good when we talk. (But when someone does handle things similarly, it’s amazing because we can understand each other on an extremely deep level.) Anyone who has lost someone knows how inadequate the phrase “I’m sorry” can feel, yet when we go to console someone else, what is the first phrase that pops into our heads? The idea is not to take the words at face value but rather brush them aside and get to the sentiment. I don’t want people to avoid me or avoid talking about what has happened to me because they don’t know what to say. It’s not the saying but the being there that really counts in the end.
2. It seems too personal even though it’s a universal human experience. There are some stories in our lives that are deeply personal, and we keep them to ourselves until others earn the right to know them. I could be friends with someone for three years and not tell them a damn thing about my father’s death, yet there could be someone I’ve known for a month that gets every single detail. It’s a feeling thing. Stories and memories are a kind of currency we exchange in order to become closer to another person. If we follow this metaphor, this story, the most defining of my life, is worth all of the chips. It’s the most emotional thing I have to give of myself, so in order to earn it someone has to be really important to me. Otherwise, I don’t feel anyone has the right to know.
3. I’m afraid. I am so damn afraid every single day of my life of having to come to terms with this. My last entry shows the optimism I cling to in order to keep orientation in my life, but the truth is, I haven’t dealt with this. I can see the positives of it, and I have to in order to start my journey through grief therapy. I’ve been running for six full years, but I’m tired of running. It’s not fair to my father’s memory, either, for me to run from my feelings about him. I need to start talking–a lot. I can’t be silent about a person who was part of my life every single day for fourteen years. I cannot ignore half of my genetic makeup just because it hurts so damn much. He’s my father. He’s always going to be my father, and he’s always going to take up an enormous part of my heart. Right now, that part of my heart isn’t healthy. It hurts. It’s dark. It deserves to be brought out into the light, and the response I received from total strangers in my last entry made me realize that I am never going to be alone in this. I know that people in my life are willing to be there for me, but to know that there is an entire online community ready to support each other through a terribly difficult time gives me so much hope. Thank you, everyone. It means so much.
So this list? Yeah, it’s going to disappear. I’m taking out the gag. This is my blog, and so often I try to tailor it to an audience. “No one wants to read this depressing shit. Lemme right about something funny or sarcastic.”
Well, yes, I can still write that stuff because I do enjoy writing it, but I have to be concerned about myself and this long healing process. If I can use this blog as a tool, great. If someone else can find comfort in my experience through the land of mourning, even better. If I can help even one person navigate this awful land, I will have done something truly beautiful. Really, that’s all I can ask for.
So, what do you say? Shall we walk the road together?