My dad died a couple of weeks ago. I did cry but I wasn’t sure what I was crying for. There is a saying that ‘grief is love unfinished’, but for some grief is love not yet begun. I have written on DAO before about my relationship with my dad.
I spent my childhood perpetually holding my breath, waiting for the time it was safe to breathe. I am still waiting. I won’t detail the abuse, only the hurt it has left me with. The voices I have on repeat is what he said to me. He wished I were dead, I keep hearing him tell me, until I become so far removed from my life, that I am a ghost, haunting only myself, terrifying only myself. My madness was shaped by his hands like clay. The clay is only there to hold the hole, the negative space.
I have had therapy, which has helped – a bit. My dad was not my only abuser, but he was the most prominent conductor of my head’s distress. Therapy turned down the volume of his song, but it is still loud and clear, for he has written the score.
I have tried to write my own score, but the only notes I have are silence. I was going to be a doctor, but the consistent bending of bone and brain did break me. There is a part of me that is too broken to love the thing that broke me. The child in me still loves him. The adult in me says I don’t need his love, and I don’t for the most part. Sometimes I feel that child’s sadness. I will never know what I could have blossomed into if there was less pain and more love. All I know is that I am a daisy that has pushed through the cracks, but I wish I could see beyond the fissures and fractures of fate.
So what you get is the artist me, who wants to repaint the scenery in the head and heart into something more beautiful, even though sometimes I mistrust beauty. The art of grief is the art of loneliness being reminded of itself.
So what you get is the activist me, that wants to stand between abuser and abused to battle any malicious power and to fight for the disempowered. My partner has always said to me, ‘If it wasn’t for the pain you’ve had in your life, you wouldn’t have had the amazing life you have lived since.’ That is true, I just wish I was around fully to touch that life and truly feel it.
Grief is so many things unfinished…