Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Grieving The Only Way I Know How

Saturday was the year anniversary of my dad's passing.  I didn't even remember until the afternoon the significance of the day.  I had stayed busy all morning with kids' activities and dog sitting but evidently it wasn't on my mind.

And I think what is wrong with me?  (I feel everything now! I cry at any tender moment)

Later in the day I noticed that some relatives had posted their tributes on Facebook.  Yet, I felt... nada, nothing.  And then shame entered in the picture because he was my father after all, I should feel something.

And then a friend pointed out an Anne Lamott quote: "You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” 

And it's not that dad behaved badly, he was who he was.  I went back and read what I wrote in this blog shortly after he died, about our relationship.  The gist is that I always wanted more from him.   I did not feel connected to him interpersonally.  We never chatted one on one. He never called me.  He was a physical presence.  He was not able to give any more than that and I grieved and I was angry and I grieved some more and over time I learned to accept him for who he was.  I did this especially knowing he had multiple medical issues and our time was most likely limited.  And in the very end I came to the conclusion that his lesson to me was authenticity.  In one of the only heart to hearts we had, he had told me, he wasn't going to change, he was who he was.  And so my positive spin was...I've got to be who I am. 

I'm so glad I re-read what I wrote because I needed that reminder to be authentic again.  We can only be who we are and if we don't do that, it's a miserable life following other people's cues.   Owning who I am and stepping out to do the things that interest me is the opportunity to connect to others who are my tribe and that is an amazing occurrence. That is where wholeness and healing begins to occur.

So on Sunday, I went to church. And it was still on my mind that I hadn't felt much of anything upon the anniversary.  And then...the song in the Call to Prayer was this:

And a few tears rolled down my cheek.  

I am connected to my father.  

It may not have been the way I wanted but I am.   A lot of my connection is through family heritage with land and trees and ancestors that I love to delve into.  I'm also connected by a history of growing up in the Methodist Church and through hymns and music.  I have very specific memories of standing in the tiny Ethel United Methodist Church on the back left row (!) and listening to him sing.  That is my connection. 

So, there we are, or rather there I am!  Not everyone grieves in the same way or in the same time frame. And sometimes, the people whom you want to connect with in the worst way, are not the ones whom it will be.   I can't make something out of nothing.  I can just be me. 

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