The Absent Father Project is a site dedicated to supporting men in transcending the personal and professional impact of growing up with an absent or distant father.
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Losing a Loved One
birthday card, iced cookies on Easter (she always a kept a few extra just for me) a ride to school or to share a Cardinals game together.
I spent the last six weeks of her life with her day in and day out, at the nursing home, watching her slowly pass on to the other side. I had the privilege to feed her, to pray with her, to tuck her into bed, to love her back in the way she had loved me all 34 years of my life.
The time spent with her is something I will always treasure. I take solace in knowing that when she left this planet, she knew how much she meant to me, how much I loved her and who she was for me.
It's been two months since we laid her to rest.
This is the first time I've lost someone close to me and I HATE that it won't be the last.
I want to share this with this community, those of you who were abandoned by a parent, because I can't help but notice how this triggers a lot of the same emotions around abandonment and old ways of coping with them.
Here's what I'm seeing that you might identify with:
1. I want to pretend that the feelings aren't there. I want to be done being sad. I want to go back to a world where my Grandma is in it. Perhaps, even more challenging than that, I have this way of putting emotions so far away, that it's difficult to even know that they are there. I just feel a little "off." Which of course makes the feelings impossible to move through, and feelings have to be moved through, or they own us.
2. I can't help but feeling this desire to pull away from people and curl back into myself. I want to pull away from my wife, my friends, from myself, even.There is that voice that surmises, "People are going to leave anyway, what's the point of getting close or counting on them?" That voice gives way to what is the point of being with people anyway? Why struggle so much, why make myself vulnerable to such heartbreak? They're going to leave anyway, right?
These two ways of being about emotions are so classic for someone who has experienced abandonment and they are exactly what I started this project to bring awareness to. To help myself and people like me find love and connection beyond these deep rooted fears and ways of shielding ourselves from re-experiencing the loss we felt growing up.
If you find yourself here, I invite you to share it with someone, anyone, or at least share it with yourself by writing about what you're feeling. Part of this post right here, right now, is my own healing.
Another thing to help you process the grief is to practice allowing the emotions when they come up. I've been watching Kelly Clarkson's rendition of Piece by Piece on American Idol, over and over. Tears every time, and it is a must watch for anyone reading this blog.
When we abandon our emotions, we abandon ourselves. And, when we shut off from others we lose the very possibility of having the sweetness of love and connection that we have yearned for our entire life.
Let's stop hiding and protecting today; Together. You are courageous, because in the face of all the reasons you have, and all that is scary about extending your heart, you do it anyway.
And, if you do, you create the possibility to love someone so much that you get the privilege of having a breaking heart.
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