Today is one of those days that just sucks. I didn’t plan to write anything. I usually prefer to wallow in my own self-pity. One of my friend’s told me last night, “be thankful that you had such a good dad. This doesn’t stop you from missing him, but in the heartache find the gratitude.” My dad would have been 75 today. But he’s not here. He would have told me his birthday present was having me. It’s hard to be a daddy’s girl without a dad. They say with time everything gets better. I hate when people tell me that. Especially people with both parents still living.
You learn to live with it, but you never really heal. My dad is an identical twin which means I have to call my uncle today, hear the exact same voice (I couldn’t tell the difference on the phone until I was about 15), and wish him happy birthday! Every day I think of the line Shonda Rhimes wrote for Grey’s Anatomy about the dead dads club. This is not a club anyone wants to join.
There was a time in my late teens and early 20s that my dad and I were at each other’s throats. Our arguments were not pretty. We both had very strong opinions. It’s not easy being the baby and only girl of four boys. I was always different, highly opinionated, and that isn’t always easy, especially growing up in the South. I’m thankful my dad did something most people wouldn’t do. He said “let’s go see someone together and talk about it.” I don’t know if he was tired of arguing with me or realized he hadn’t resolved some of his own personal and familial issues. I will never know, but I believe as we talked with our therapist we both became better. A better father, a better daughter, and better humans.
Here was this cop in a therapist chair discussing his feelings. I look back and think how hilarious it was. How uncomfortable in the chair he was sometimes in uniform. But he stuck with it. What a sacrifice. For me. He always used to tell me “don’t let anyone put you in a box. Be who are you were meant to be even if it makes other people angry.” What it taught me is in order to really go deep you have to do a lot of work you don’t really want to do. It also taught me that the majority of people are lazy. They can exist because it’s safe to be in the job you don’t like, the relationship that you hate, be mad at a person who did something to you twenty years ago, and then live trying to keep up with the Combs’ as my friend Timaka says.
As I watched Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday with Elizabeth Lesser (she cofounded Omega Institute) it hit me. Have I really broken open about my dad’s death? I don’t think so. Maybe I never will. I immediately purchased Elizabeth’s book Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow. This is one of the main reasons I love books. They can transform bad situations into something great. Lesser said “spiritual practice isn’t about getting anything it is about uncovering.”
What I learned from all those therapy sessions was that we are all a work in progress. Some a little ahead of the other, but if we trust the process, trust the journey, and admit that life isn’t grand all the time we can come out on the other side. It won’t be easy, but it’s worth it. I did what any self-proclaimed beauty and yoga junkie would do. I will keep myself busy, schedule a yoga class, buy some new beauty items, read, drink a really good Bourbon, and shake my tambourine.
My dad always told me – “Life ain’t always rainbows and unicorns.” He was right, but I know a rainbow is coming.