So, this past October I turned 30. I wondered what the first year of my 30’s would bring.
So far: stress, exhaustion, carb loading, yoga, sunsets, pictures, peace, revelations, and lots of feelings.
Today those feelings bubble to the surface like hot grits over the side of a pan, ebbing and flowing as the steam inside waxes and wanes.
15 years ago today my father died.
As I reflect on what that has meant to my life and who I have become, the tears and anger come back to me like it was yesterday and I wonder if this pain ever really goes away.
I have healed over and over, in different ways about him missing graduations, relationships, smiles, tears, birthdays, and celebrations.
But what stuck out today was he has missed half of my life. To live half your life without a person who makes up half of what you are (genetically at least) leaves this whole in your identity, no one else can ever really fill.
The emotional me thinks about:
The first time I saw a picture of my dad as child, I sobbed for hours, because it was a picture in a box of things he would never get to show me. Or finding a letter he wrote to my mom, and wondering what things means or who he was at the time he said the things he said. The questions I would never be able to ask and the person I could never understand. Or the fact he will never walk me down the isle or hold any of his grandchildren. The emotional me knows, while he physically misses these things, parts of him are here and present, from his handkerchief I carry to the pictures next to my office, somewhere here he still exists.
The rational me thinks about:
How much pain he was in, how his feelings drowned him from being the man anyone ever knew to being the half human I grew up with, how the only thing I ever wanted was for him to be free from everything he kept inside and I can only hope that by not being here somehow that is possible for him. The rational me know, he was not here living any kind of life, he was here dying slowly in a way no person deserves and letting him go, was the only way for him to find relief from all the things which caged him.
So for the last 15 years, these emotions and rational thoughts have been at war.
On the less emotional days usually the rational thoughts, who remind me the good days for my father were few and far between. And while he did his best not to show it, there was a place in my little existence as early as 4 which knew he could not be saved, and I watched and waited, knowing he would not be here for very long.
On the days where every tear falls heavy like rain, my emotions gather the best of my heart into a little cup and tip it over, so some part of me cries out and lets him know he is still missed and needed and wanted. Even though he cannot be here, the child who still lives inside, screams for the parent she will never know and the person she will never meet who once resided in the man she looked up to and the person in so many ways she would ultimately become and have to overcome.
Today, I know the rational and emotional are no longer at war, but trying to learn to co-exist. To allow for each truth to own its place in my life. Neither one is wrong, both have a place in my being, in who I am and how I honor and value the relationship with the man who meant the world to me without ever really knowing him.