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I am torn today as I see all of the posts about Father’s Day. On one hand I have this amazing man in my life, my husband, the father of my 3 beautiful children. He is a brilliant, kind, caring, consistent, amazing, loving father. He is always there for us and always working hard to provide for us. He doesn’t really believe in celebrating Father’s Day. He would rather just have a normal day where we spend time together and I cook an amazing meal for us, while we watch Die Hard.
On the other hand is my Dad. He wasn’t always the most patient or gentle man, but he did try to be a good dad and do what he could to love us and care for us, while he was fighting with depression and anger, and the things that help someone cover those up. He took us camping and to family gatherings and for long Sunday drives-although those were mostly scary for me on winding roads while he held his brown beer bottle. He tried.
I remember when I was in high school, every summer I would go to this beautiful Oregon summer camp for at least a couple of different weeks. That place became my happy place for many years. My sisters and I would almost always go to White Water Rafting Camp, which happened to always start on Father’s Day. Which, in the Pacific Northwest, meant it was raining and cold, but we didn’t care.
My sisters and I would feel a little bad that we were leaving our dad for the week, starting on that day. But he always looked a little happy. I think he was happy that we were going to go have a great week, but also grateful that his 3 teenage daughters were going to be out of the house for 6 whole days. We might have been a little emotional, unpredictably moody, and loud in those years.
A couple of days ago I was feeling so sad and irritated all day. My very observant, intuitive husband, who knows me better than I know myself some days, kept asking what was wrong and holding me. I kept saying, “I don’t know what’s wrong, I’m just really sad and I don’t why.” Around 10 o’clock that night it finally hit me.
I had been subconsciously seeing everywhere that it was Father’s Day weekend. Many people online were writing about it, the radio ads were about it, people I saw in person were talking about it. I didn’t even know that it would bother me anymore. But somewhere inside I was hurting and sad that I don’t have my Dad around to joke with or hug and wish Happy Father's Day. It’s been 8 years since he lost his fight with liver disease, in that kind and peaceful hospice home on the hill. I think about him often, just missing his presence.
It is so weird to me how grief is so sneaky, especially after all these years. It comes in when you're least expecting it and punches you right in the heart. That sneaky grief jerk. I guess that will never change. I’m okay with that though. It is part of who I am now. I love who I am and I have my father to thank for some of that.
He taught me to be stubborn and take what you want from life. He taught me to have fun and tell dumb jokes. He taught me to love the Portland Trail Blazers no matter what happens. He taught me that it’s okay to fight with the ones you love, as long as in the end they know that love is stronger than any other thing. He wasn’t the perfect dad. He was though, a perfect reminder that there is a real and lasting part in each one of us that holds onto pain and love all in the same place. It is all together sad and beautiful.
I hope you will continue to join me on this journey. If you need a place to talk about life and love and healing and relationships and more, you are welcome to join The Mama Bear Tribe private Facebook group.
Dear Young MamaBear,
Being you can be really hard. It can mean that a lot of hurtful things may come up from your past, when you start thinking about who you are and how you got to where you are today. It can mean that you will have to process a lot of what makes you who you are. You might discover some things about yourself that you don’t like. That can be a good thing if you let it be. It can be a good time to talk to someone safe-a spouse, a parent, a partner, a good friend, a professional counselor if it’s too much to even think about by yourself.
If even talking out loud to someone is too much to handle, then try journaling to start with. Writing to yourself. You can discover a lot about yourself just by writing down what you are really thinking. Process the things that you’ve been holding onto, deep in your being, way down in the corners of yourself where it can’t be found by anyone, until you decide it’s time.
Don't edit your thoughts, just write and let it flow. It doesn't have to start out extreme or intense. Just write what you're thinking and why and what you're feeling. Once you've started letting it flow then that should lead to deeper and more personal thoughts that will sometimes surprise you.
Processing with someone safe is a really important part of letting yourself be you. You can start to work through things, one at a time, so that you can realize that you are not just that person anymore. Every day you are changing, becoming a little more of who you want to be, and moving forward. If you are moving forward, toward who you want to be, then you aren’t stuck. You aren’t staying still or moving backwards, so you are already becoming who you want to be. Processing with someone safe will help you start to heal and grow even more.
I hope you will continue to join me on this journey!
Check out the Become a MamaBear section to find journal prompts.
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