Overfull - MetroFamily Magazine
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It’s two years this past weekend since my dad passed. The only thing I can say for sure is that I was terribly unprepared. I didn’t have a great relationship with my dad; he was from a different time and our family dynamic was such that he spent the large majority of his time out of the house, working to support us. I never questioned his love, but I guess I hungered for more of his time, his attention.

These past two years have been the most introspective years of my life. Struggling with the grieving process, much of my time was spent stalled in the anger phase. It’s not pleasant, and it’s not a fun place to live, but it’s necessary. Or at least it was for me. I had to get through it to get here. I finally found healing, learned to live with the loss of my father and, weirdly, have developed a stronger relationship with him now.

I can feel him guiding me in some ways, I think hard about the lessons I learned from him and I know in my heart that he watches over me. Only now he can’t argue with me. I only hear his loving support, see his smile in my mind.

I realized that since he passed, this grief has filled every corner of my life, in ways I really couldn’t see until now. I’ve been through a few experiences recently that have just overfilled me. Left me in a place of abundance that I didn’t realize I had been so removed from. I know that especially as a mother, a person who is responsible for caring for others, it’s important to take care of yourself so you have something left to give to others…but I just didn’t realize that I was running on empty.

When my dad passed, he was in hospice care. It happened so quickly; he had been there for a matter of hours, my mom had gone home to get rest and it was either very late at night or very early in the morning, depending on your point of view. A hospice nurse was with him, and though he wasn’t able to talk, she was talking to him through his final transition, working that amazing angelic magic that hospice nurses do. She asked him about his life. “Do you have kids?” she asked. Ever so slightly he nodded his head. “How many?” He shakily raised his hands to show seven. “Wow, that must have been a noisy house.” And he smiled as he took his last breaths.

No matter what happened in our lives, no matter how I may have wanted my dad’s attention more, at that moment, the last thoughts my dad had were of us, his kids. And now I can understand that this wasn’t an isolated moment. He might not have been at home in body, but he was there for us. Always.

We weren’t terribly close, but losing my dad put me in a vulnerable place that allowed me to heal so many other old wounds, to dig into the real me and be more honest about my needs.

And through this honesty, my heart has been overfilled.

I tell my kids that the best lessons are usually the ones learned through mistakes and painful experiences, and this has certainly been true for me.

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