back when i was still in her womb, this was his first family
This week has been unimaginably challenging yet in the end I know it will be unimaginably freeing to me. The reality of people I’ve dealt with over the year has become more in focus than anything I could ever have imagined, and with these events I find that there is finality not only in my loss, but in attempts at relationships where I’ve made countless attempts only to be shut down in numerous ways. I’ve never been skilled at dealing with self-absorbed people and we always find out who our true friends are when we deal with crisis. True, some are better at dealing with others’ crises, but either way we are sure to find out what people are thinking of us, and what people are only thinking of themselves. Who is going to reach out, and who is going to continue to expect that others cater exclusively to their needs.
This was part of the battle I had with my dad – our conversations over the last 10 years or so being almost exclusively about him, his life, his family, and few words of reply when I would try to bring up things in my life, and look for fatherly advice, commentary, or just words of love and support. I had written him a letter once several years ago, opening up old wounds of mine to share with him so that he understood the pain that I experienced, hoping he would want to be my daddy again and tell me how much he loved me. Instead he ignored it. Now as I prepare to bury him on Monday, I am grateful for the people around me who have taken my hand, literally and/or figuratively, and let me know that they understand, or at least support me during this time. I am grateful to have my mother by my side, I am grateful for friends of the family who have shown in such a short time to really understand the cycle of life and its challenges, and the pain in losing a parent.
Those friends who have circled around me, checked in on me, sent me notes of encouragement and love and support, they have kept me going. Gifts of time are infinitely more valuable than anything, and having my friend Darci take time off her busy schedule to just listen to me and hug me the morning after it all happened, that was something I will always be grateful to her for. She’s the only person who I’ve had face to face contact with since this has happened, who has understood that it’s not about resolving the problem, but just being there to be my rock during the biggest challenges of my life. I am not very good at reaching out and asking for others to comfort me, to be close to me, to nurture me. Probably because I’ve tried so hard over the years to not be seen as selfish or needy, that sometimes I have found unwanted isolation. And my sensitivity to rejection from those I love has been a challenge – is it a handicap or is it part of being human? I am still figuring this out.
So this Sunday morning, my focus is on short term goals. Focusing on what is beautiful around me. The art of Tamara Adams (local Portland artist ). Lying naked on a massage table (thank you to my boss, who recognized this need). Crunching around in the leaves. Making a killer macaroni and cheese. Putting together an apple pie for my trip to the farm. Thinking about that getaway and some good snuggle time, some good walks, some good peeps. Remembering that despite everything, despite the obstacles that have been thrown in my direction, I have a pretty damn good life and get to do whatever I want, follow whatever path I choose, spend time with those I feel most at home with. That is the freedom I am blessed with.