I’ve always been conscious of not ‘oversharing’ through my writing. While I think it’s important to allow ourselves to be open and vulnerable, I also recognize that we don’t have to share absolutely everything, all the time. And when you’re putting yourself out to people you’ve likely never met in person, or haven’t talked to in a while, some things are best left with those closest to us. Until you realize that not sharing could mean that you’re not starting the conversations that lead to healing.
Since 2016, I’ve been working through the rollercoaster of emotions that have come with watching my father’s health rapidly deteriorate. My dad and I have never been very close and while at one point, I may have thought that meant it would be ‘easier’ to move through this, it hasn’t been. In fact, it’s been tougher than I ever could have possibly imagined. If I’m being brutally honest, I never really knew my father. I grew up in the same house with him but we didn’t talk much, at least, not about the things that really mattered. My father is an alcoholic and it took me a long time to be able to say that out loud without a trembling whisper taking over my voice.
I saw my father through the lens of his drinking and depression, through the lens of my misunderstandings of him, and through the lens of a young girl who just wanted to be loved and for her dad to be ‘normal’.
Seeing him delicately close to death and knowing his body has become weaker, his mind: frazzled, and his thoughts: disconnected, has been tough. Really tough. Feeling helpless, unable to ‘fix’ things or make it right has been tough. Really tough. But at the same time, while things have been strained between us and I’ve often felt it impossible to understand the motivations behind what he did (and didn’t do) I do know that we, as a family, have him to thank for our lives today. He pushed to get us to Canada and had it not been for his perseverance, I wouldn’t be living the life I love now and I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
Reframing the story has helped me make peace with where we’re at. I’ve had to build in the fact that he was, and is, struggling with things I can’t fully understand – and likely never will. I’ve had to realize that he will never show me love the way I would like him to but that he’s been doing the best he can, with what he knows. I’ve had to come face-to-face with knowing that forgiveness of him begins with me forgiving myself. I’ve realized that how he treated others was a reflection of his own lack of love for himself and that I can rewrite the past by imprinting love for him, my family, and me – now, today, and here.
For those reaching for love, I hear you.
For those trying to connect and to be understood, I see you.
For those healing from heartache, I love you.
Know that you’re not alone.
Know that the dark brings light.
Know that this too shall pass.