My dad was gone nearly ten years before I missed him.
I decided to write this before I realized that today, September 20th, is the anniversary of his death. He must be close.
Don’t get me wrong it’s not that I didn’t love my dad. I loved him very much. The problem was he used personal lies to build an impenetrable fortress around his heart. Nobody got in.
When I say lies I don’t mean my dad was a liar. He wasn’t. He was hard-working and the kind of person who fought for the underdog. He had many good and noble traits. He just didn’t see them.
The worst lie is the one I told myself.
We all have personal lies, those unconscious beliefs that direct our actions. I think two of my dad’s big lies were; I am not worthy, and I am unloveable. If I had known this growing up I’m sure life would have been a bit easier. You see, my dad controlled with anger, and punished with the silent treatment. I think it’s where he felt safest, but I didn’t know that. I thought I was the problem.
Relationships are complex. It also takes a great deal of maturity to step back and observe before reacting. I didn’t have those skills for much of our time together. I got sucked up in the dance instead.
Why am I sharing this?
I am sharing this because I’ve had a fair amount of time for reflection lately. That reflection keeps looping back to my own actions. My dad blamed. I want to take responsibility for what’s mine. I also want to have good boundaries in place so others can be responsible for their actions.
Sometimes we just don’t see ourselves. A good way to get a peek is to take a look at what annoys you about others. See if there is a common thread. I’m not a psychologist and I’m not a counselor. I’ve practiced the art of awareness and that takes guts, and a lot of honesty. I also use the same techniques I teach, things I learned from hypnotherapy training. Body awareness to find and release blocks has been an amazing tool.
My dad passed away before the sun came up in his nursing home bed all alone. I’m sure that’s how he wanted it.
But he wasn’t gone.
In the weeks that followed I would wake up in the middle of the night to the sensation of being tucked into bed. It was very comforting until I remembered I lived alone. I startled myself awake every time that registered. This happened so much that I eventually called a medium and asked her about it. She said my dad wanted to apologize. I was both happy and sad. I was happy that he really did know how difficult he was. I was also sad because the opportunity to have a different relationship had passed.
Honest self-reflection is hard, but losing an opportunity for real and beautiful change can be tragic. Dig deep. Feel what hurts. Heal it. Move on.
Peace and love Dad