I know this day will come once a year. No matter how I prepare myself, every year I feel like I’ve been sucker punched once again.
Each year, I think that surely by next year the hurt will have played itself out. 12 years later that hasn’t happened yet.
This morning when I awoke, it was the furthest thing from my mind. After an alarm clock mishap, I woke up feeling grumpy and cotton-headed, feeling as if I hadn’t slept at all.
I opened my calendar to confirm the time of a luncheon and BOOM – there it was. THAT date.
Today is the anniversary of my father’s death.
This morning as I drove to work, I implored myself to stay strong. I am the only woman in a newsroom full of men, and the last thing I want is to be the girl crying in the corner.
But, my mother reminded me on the phone, there’s another way to look at it…
These men I work with respect and love me. They show that to me every day – not least in the ways that they tease me about everything. I know them well enough to understand this as a sign of affection. My relationship with them is clean – we have no baggage together, there is no bullshit.
In contrast, my father loved me, but our relationship was neverclean. By my early teens, I knew that I had to monitor every word and action with him. By 20, I was carefully picking outfits and planning safe conversation topics before I saw him so that I could feel protected and in control. When he teased me, I laughed on the outside to cover how deeply unsafe I felt on the inside.
Looking at it the comparison, I see how far I’ve come. Without even trying, I find myself smack in the middle of a group of men who treat me the way I deserve to be treated: with honor and respect. And now I know that it’s what I deserve.
I know without a shadow of a doubt that when my father died, he set me free. I couldn’t do my healing work as long as he was alive because I was so terrified of him. Today, I thank him for breaking his earthly bonds so that I could escape my spiritual bondage. It’s not how I would have chosen it, but I see now that it’s the only way it could ever be.
This morning I posted on Facebook: “Today is the 12th anniversary of my dad’s death. He went out just as he came in: a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Every year I wonder if this day will be easier next year. I suppose that it has gotten easier, but it still hurts.” I received an outpouring of love and support from my friends.
And I received this gem from a dear friend: “Surrounding you in love! it cushions a lot. Like a gigantic roll of bubble wrap. And then when you don’t need it anymore, you can pop the bubble wrap. It is that good.”
Thanks Adele. I love you too.
And thanks to all of you who are so supportive of me just showing up each day to be me. You are my miracle. Thank you.
Today’s miracle: Finding love and respect in my world. Emotional and spiritual freedom. Oh, and bubble wrap.
PS – Last year on this day I wrote a remembrance of my dad from a very different place, but all of that is still true too. You can find it here.