The worst most popular club you could ever belong to
I recently lost my father. It's been the heaviest and most difficult experience I've ever had to face. You wish the world would stop and give you time to grieve but it won't. We live in a "Carry on" society and although I've had tons of support, I can't help but to feel like there's a long, lonely road ahead.
I've witnessed friends go through this and dreaded the idea of it happening to me. I don't think I ever allowed myself to even consider it. You just think you will figure it out once you get there. And then it happens...when you lose someone who has been apart of your entire life, you feel lost and without purpose. I've been doing my part to replace these defeating thoughts with stillness and spirituality. During this turbulent time, especially during COVID, I do know I need my Higher Power.
I took to my community after I learned the news. I found myself in the biggest, most inconsolable rut I have ever felt because of some of the events surrounding my father's departure. I didn't feel I had the support I needed from my family and didn't want to wear down my partner. There are so many harsh realities to manage during a time of grief that the last thing you want is conflict from your family. I immediately detached myself from the personal attacks and judgements. After all, you can't heal in the same environment you got sick. And because your healing is your responsibility, you have to be the one to do it for yourself. It felt natural to let go and begin my own healing. I was determined to regain my peace.
My father meant everything to me. I did everything I could to remind him of it too. I think it was overkill for him towards the end because I hugged him every chance I could and told him how much I loved him. We had this thing where I would ask him who loves him and he would reply, "MIJA", my daughter. We spent most of our time listening to classic salsa and playing dominos. I know he was trying to hang on but I could tell he was hurting. He had very little to keep him going. COVID changed our outings to the senior center so we could no longer play dominoes with his friends. We only spent time at his home.
There were so many negative events surrounding my father's death that made me feel angry. I witnessed abuse, neglect, and isolation. I tried everything in my power to help him but nothing worked and instead aggravated the unstable individual that was overseeing his care. My visits began to be limited and we could no longer speak in private. I didn't have any hard evidence for my suspicions, but watching him deteriorate so quickly was agonizing. The emotions compounding my grief made it harder to accept he was gone.
After my dad passed, I decided to work on my self-care, healing, and forgiveness. I wanted to release the negativity I had encountered all those previous months. I had no time for grudges or hate. I refuse to block my own blessings. I also know that anger is a part of the grief, so I decided to allow myself to feel those emotions. The only way out is through.
I found a very good yoga practice for grief on youtube. This one in particular has affirmations that have proven to be extremely helpful:
I have been doing a lot of writing in the form of poetry, songs, and experiences with my dad to help me through the waves of grief. I created a tribute video in his honor to remind me of better days. I even included some pictures, videos, and old voicemails I had saved on my phone. Those were my treasures. I realized I had gotten the best from my dad because we made actual memories. I got to know him, I got to hear his stories, and ask him questions. It took me about a week to create this video with positive affirmations to also pick me up. It has brought me much so much comfort to know he is "at peace now and no longer suffering". Those words seemed so cliche up until now. When you watch one of the people you love most suffer you just want them to experience peace.
I felt like my dad suffered his entire life. He left his homeland so young and never got to see his father again. He had to fend for himself without family in this country and got drafted into the US Army for a few years after he was living in San Juan. He met and married my mom in Chicago, then he got word from his older sister and her husband that they had migrated from Cuba to Houston. They were starting a furniture business and needed his help running it. He packed up my mom, sister, and brother to move them to Houston.
A few short years later I came into the picture. By that time, my father was establishing himself as a well-known jeweler in the area. He worked very hard to provide for us. My folks separated when I was 10 and my dad remarried. The story takes a different turn. In 1999, three burgulars tried to rob him outside of his business and shot him four times. I thought my father was going to die. After countless reconstructive surgeries and years of ongoing physical therapy, he survived. This was one of a handful of experiences he would say should've taken his life.
Regardless of my parent's separation may years ago, my father and I remained close. We were always connected even when I moved to Los Angeles. Our bond continued to grow. A few years ago, I decided to return to Houston to spend more time with him. It couldn't have come back at a better time. I didn't realize how much we needed each other and how valuable that last year and a half would be for me.
I miss him terribly and I know I have to deal with that. This grief journey is individual and highly personal. Healing is never linear. I am processing it the best way I can by doing the things I love and spending time with the ones I love. I'm being as kind as I can to myself, spending lots of time alone, and being patient with the process. I am trying not to overcommit to doing a lot of things. Also, I decided to look into more grief resources such as therapy, books, and audio books.
I've gotten so many great tidbits of advice from other friends who've lost a parent, "The worst most popular club you could ever belong to." They tell me to put myself first and be selfish. I know to honor my place. I know I'm not alone. I know one day I will remember him without heartache. I look forward to that day. I believe every journey is different and you have to do what you have to do for you.
About the Creator
A deep thinker who is always curious; sharing experiences and thoughts through stories and perspectives.
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