This Father's Day marks, 21 years that I called my dad to wish him a "Happy Father's Day" and the (land) line barked back at me the unmistakable alarm of disconnection. Intuitively I knew this sign wasn't solely the disconnection of a phone line but to the connection to my father, permanently. I don't think I realized the impact at the time the loss of a parent would have. I felt distinct relief and finality. Not having the tools or the resources, I pushed the emotionally pain deep down and carried on with a stalwart pride for many years.
My dad was funny, witty, smart, hard-working and taught my sister and I to be independent yet connected, strong, and aim for abundance. Never were we supposed to rely on a man for anything; unfortunately that meant his emotional support as well. So, in addition to what I did learn, I also felt the hole of emotional abandonment and later, physical.
Fifteen years later, when I learned of my dad's death from a Facebook message sent from the other side of the world, it actually opened the pathways to feel the love he did have for me. As intangible as the loss was, no longer was I looking for him across the bars I worked at or was I on the defense for the phone call that never came. All that was left was grief and the flood of emotion. I did feel his love and was able to see it in a different way now that I was no longer keeping the gates of my heart locked.
Still in my mid 30's I recognized my relationships with both men and women were not nearly as fulfilling as I would like. I still felt the shame of the abandonment from my dad and now it was coupled with the inauthentic loss of a parent. Yes, he died, but for me, the loss began many years before. I do believe a lesson, like a symptom of disease, keeps rearing its head until you decide to give it a look. At last, pain in the mask of anger and repeated relationship patterns of both SHAME and abandonment led me to talk therapy and I released the grief trapped in the cells of that little girl. Healing on a cellular level has extraordinary transformative power and transcends any logical belief around how you 'should' feel.
Here's what I have learned. It wasn't about me at all. His journey, his path, though connected to me, wasn't about ME. His own fear, cowardice and self limiting beliefs didn't give him the capability to be the man or father I needed (healing myself helped me learn what I did need and find a man worthy of me). While biology dictates that we always look to our parent for love and acceptance we must realize one can only give away to others what one has inside and he loved me to his own best capacity. He did his best until he couldn't.
Awareness is our strongest gift. When we are able to look within, hear and honor our pain, it is then we are able to make the shifts to live a life we have desired. Take time to reflect within and take inventory of your emotions, where and why they are arising. Connect with someone who can truly hear and see you because being witnessed is where the healing the begins.
We are given gifts, although they may not look like the ones are friends are given, they are the tools we need to transform our self. If my dad had not left, I would not have the space to heal and grow. I would not have learned to love myself, find the super power of empathy, and in turn, become a healer, nurse and support to hold space for those that need hope to grow and nourish a life that is truly desired.
People and things are in our lives for a reason. When we hold too tight to something that doesn't fit our needs anymore, we close down the path that lets in what we truly do need. It may seem preposterous that we no longer need our parent yet often they can do more for us from beyond or simply not being in our life anymore. The universe is always there to provide, release what we no longer need, and to make room for what truly serves us. When we hold too tight, it's based on a fear of not having enough. Know that you always have what you need. Know that when you open up your palm and release, it is the same action to receiving more.
Lastly, forgiveness is an act of self love. This is a concept that evaded me for a while. The depth of the wound is conversely related to the depth of the healing and forgiveness and may come in waves and layers. Forgiving someone sets you free, it does not let them escape their actions. It simply says I no longer give my energy over to you for hurting me. Blaming impedes your own growth which keeps the wound festering.
Be well and know you are not alone in this journey! xo
Reach out and let me know how this impacted you or if you are craving support.
Being able to transform your health and wellness is not merely diet; learning to nourish yourself with self love is an act of well being. Nourishing yourself today brings you closer to the life you desire to live!