One year ago today my father died. I found out through facebook (story here). I was denied the opportunity to attend the funeral.
I found some closure, not only with his death but with lots of my childhood memories when I revisited the House of Horrors (story here).
I knew the anniversary was approaching, not because I remembered with respect to my father, but because I remembered with respect to the anniversary of the death of my mentor, who was more of a father to me in these last several years than my own dad.
I emailed my Sister and we exchanged some light-hearted emails joking about whether we should be sad or not. We discussed all the family secrets that we learned when we met up with our sort-of-siblings. Neither sister or I have heard anything from them since that one meeting.
I thought I was perfectly fine....but I've been a bit weepy. Then I started bawling upon reading a simple facebook update about a friend whose son has a stomach virus. I can't name the emotion I'm feeling so I keep shutting them down. After all, if I can't logically explain what I'm feeling and why, then I have no right to engage in the self-pity of emotions. Right?
I'm getting better about giving myself permission to feel. I've let myself get a bit weepy - controlled of course. Decided I would shut my office door, but first I'd go to the bathroom and get more coffee. Then I'd put the sign on my door that says "come back in 10 minutes." So even when I let myself feel, I still control it.
A long time ago I created a postcard to send into Postsecret. It is the picture below of my father with the facebook logo across his face. It says "If it wasn't for facebook I would never have known my father died." I mailed it in yesterday.
When I look at his picture I feel love (still) more than hatred. Then I get mad for not feeling more mad. I was able to finally admit that at the last meeting I had with my father, I didn't really like him. But I can also remember the good memories and I do miss that.
I think one of the worst parts of the abuse is being robbed of the concept of what is "okay" and "normal." I ~think~ it is okay and normal to mourn my father, even though with all his faults. It's hard to mourn though because my friends don't even know - if I say anything about my father being dead, they are very sympathetic and then I feel the need to say, "oh don't be sad, he was an ass." On the other hand, I find it hard to say, "yeah dad's been dead a year but he was an ass so I'm only half-sad." And of course the kids don't understand why mommy is all whishy-washy with emotions. Maybe it's a chik-fil-a meal tonight with time for them on the playground and a big fat milkshake for mommy.