I learned something last week. For the past nine months I’ve been trying to go backwards.
I’ve been trying to imagine my Dad back to life.
Impossible. And I have caused myself all sorts of pain because of this desperate need to go backwards in my life and in my Dad’s life.
There are many things I can do backwards. Spelling. Counting. Swimming. Skating. Skipping rope. Dancing. Walking and even kind-of-slow-running. But I cannot get life to move backwards. Not going to happen.
I need to grieve forwards. Sounds funny, I know. It actually makes me laugh when I say this to myself. Laughter feels like grieving forwards.
Realizing what I’ve been doing makes a difference in how I feel. Something has eased within me. I’m not going forward, but at least the backward pull has stopped, and that is an improvement.
Yes, Dad, I was trying to head in the wrong direction, backwards. A mistake made out of a long love, and an unwillingness to stop seeing you here in front of me.
Dad does not want me sad. He loves me too much for that. I can feel him gently putting his hands on my shoulders and turning me around, so now he stands behind me and my life stands before me.
I don’t want to do this. I am crying, but I feel Dad behind me and there is strength in that feeling. Love, and a kind of steadiness I had lost. He has my back, and I can make the first tentative steps forward again. He won’t let me fall.
In this post:
The excellent, imaginative book I was reading last week, that sparked my aha, is Lost & Found by Brooke Davis, Penguin Canada Books, 2016. I love the three main characters, a seven-year-old girl and two seniors who create themselves as family, take a road trip to find the girl’s mother (who has left her behind), and emphatically refuse to be anyone other than who they are. I keep thinking about them. I want them to be happy. Thanks, Brooke, for writing this. https://www.facebook.com/brookedavisauthor
Brooke also wrote an article, very much worth reading, about her experience of grieving. A shortened version is included at the end of the book, and the full version is at www.textjournal.com.au/oct12/davis.htm