Even when I’m ‘okay’ with someone leaving, whether in life or in death, there is still pondering necessary.
That noodling that happens when I hang out with Hither and Thither, puttering about inside my head to figure out if there is any dusting or straightening up that needs to happen so I don’t trip over something later on. This doesn’t mean that I won’t recall or remember or shed a tear, or wonder about ‘what ifs’ or ‘how mights’. It’s more of a recognition that grief is grief and each time it is different. I have to let it come, and sit with it for a while before it weaves itself into the person I am to be.
Because we are always becoming.
A bit over a week ago, I learned that my father died. We were estranged, which had long ago become more about a distance between two human beings than anger or a lack of resolution. But it’s still an odd thing, the end of a life that was instrumental in me having mine.
I’ve taken the time I need when I needed it, to pay attention to my inner voices and notions. I know not paying attention to them is never an option for me, as they can go from gentle companions to obnoxious sidekicks in no time flat. And that is never good for anyone.
But I continue to circle back to the knowledge that – and I have checked myself on this many times – I really do wish my father peace. It’s not about forgiveness necessarily, or righting wrongs or giving or taking blame. It’s about acknowledgement, and the acceptance of our mutual human-ness. Understanding that idea, and embracing it, sets off one of those warm inner glows that only shows up when something feels right.
The noodling hasn’t stopped there though. I’ve realized something else in all of this.
I think one of the greatest gifts we miss, those of us who aren’t blessed with a great relationship with one or both parents (whether biological or adopted or guardians acting as parents… doesn’t matter)… is that the unconditional love of our innocent, childhood selves eventually transitions – so magically and lightly it can happen without us even noticing – into a beautiful concoction of respectful and gratitudinous and even admirational love.
When we realize what it took for them to raise us (through the terrible twos, maybe a health crisis (or two or three or four…), through our teens (I still owe apologies for those years, I’m sure) and our launches into our young adult, and then our adultier selves.
We get to know them a bit more, for who they are as humans – flaws and all – apart from their roles as parents. We get to appreciate that another human being put us first, before themselves, in so many instances. In so many ways.
Oh sure, they can still make us nuts, and maybe they didn’t put us first every time… but that’s beside the point.
And another cool thing?
They get to know us a little more too, if we are brave enough to actually be human, and that is an extraordinary happening in its own right.
Some people miss that.
I’m so lucky to not be missing that, when it comes to my own kids.
And that seed of a realization germinated as I sat with the news that a very human soul that I once called ‘daddy’, returned to places beyond those that I can know.
Yesterday I was talking to a friend who was saying that life is pretty strange sometimes. And I agree, it is.
All sorts of stuff inserted and deleted and expounded upon…
I think life just goes about its work, dishing things out, taking things back (or, in some cases, refusing to take things back). We often bob and weave with the tough stuff, and gratefully receive and even stand in wonder of the good stuff… and the really, really great stuff.
But the golden nuggets that we are lucky enough to discover – sometimes even answers to the hows and whys or the if-this-didn’t-happen-I-would-never-haves – they require us to take off the boxing gloves, to stop the bobbing and weaving when the tough stuff comes. They require us to just sit with and be with the bad, and even the crushing… just as we are willing to be with the good and the great.
To gently sift out the noise to get to the nuggets.
And then sit in wonder of those too.
Thanks for readin’.
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