This Saturday, October 15th, is the year anniversary of my father’s death and the death of my life as I knew it. I’ve been aware of this date approaching, wondering if I’ll be a complete mess. Strangely, motivation has been kicking in. Not intensely, not out of a desperate need to distract myself, but a simple “lets start moving forward with some of the inspirations I have been given” way. I’ve been cutting back on my sugar intake, picking up Kundalini Yoga again, and taking steps towards building a website for a new project. It’s all a slow process, but I no longer feel urgency towards anything. But as these things have started up, I’ve been wondering if I have anything in particular to share about my dad or this past year. Only one thing comes to mind: I still don’t feel as though I know how to talk about my grief.
That’s not to say I haven’t talked about it. At times, I have broken down bawling around someone who ended up holding me. Sometimes I was close to the person; sometimes I just kind of knew them. I held my grief in so much from others that it would find its way out. When I’m alone, I actually deal better because I cry it out in phases as opposed to bottling it up for an eruption. Though I am very appreciative of those who held me because I really needed human comfort. I’ve taken note that I’ll reference my grieving to people, perhaps comment that I have intense dreams, or just that the grief has been hard. The truth is that I experienced a lot of rejection from some people whom I had expected to be there for me the first few months after my dad died. Some people slowly seemed to disappear, while others actually blamed me for not being there for them because I was going through so much. Yeah. I’m not kidding. On the other hand, some amazing people that I didn’t know hardly at all stepped up and did some really kind things for me. Plus, I had two close friends who were there for me as much as they possible could be. It really was this 50/50 blend of touching beauty and raw shittiness.
If I continue this honesty streak, the rejection hurt like hell, and I’m still holding anger about it. I’m working towards forgiveness, but forgiveness is a process, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s a process to get to the place where you are even ready to forgive, and then a whole other process of going through actually forgiving. There are always layers of forgiveness. No small feat, my friends.
It’s my fear of further rejection that I allow to hold me back from opening up more about my grief. Really, isn’t fear of rejection what most people use to stop them from actually communicating honestly? We don’t forget how a broken heart feels, whether from a partner, friend, or relative. Nobody likes to feel pain. I remember lying in bed last December knowing my heart could not take one more person telling me they couldn’t come be with me while I was grieving. At that moment, I made a deal with the Universe. I couldn’t bring myself to ask for help, but I told the Universe that if anyone reached out to me and made me an offer, I would take them up on it. And what do you know, some beautiful souls did.
My dad passing away changed every single relationship in my life. Not many events can do that to somebody. I mean it too. It changed every single relationship in my life. I remember my boyfriend at the time told me that my dad’s death would change me forever, and I wouldn’t even realize how it had changed me until maybe a year from now. He said it with such dark sadness, not sadness for me, but for himself while he was off in a memory. Right away, I felt defensive. I knew myself. I knew my soul. I had lost somebody in my life before where it shook my soul. I literally told people, “My soul shifted”. I knew after that event that my life was never going to be the same, but had no idea as to how. In actuality, that event set me on a path to prepare me for my dad’s death. When my dad died, I knew my life had just completely changed, but it did not shift my soul. But yes, indeed that fucker, my ex, was right; I have changed forever as a result of all of this, but not to any point where I don’t recognize myself. If anything, I feel more like myself than I ever did before.
The other night I actually did have a conversation about my grief with my mom via Skype. We were talking for a bit, venting about this and that, when she asked me how I was doing with the fact that it’s October and the year anniversary is days away. My mom had just gone through the year anniversary of my grandfather’s death at the end of July. I was happy to discover that my mom and I were having similar experiences. From some friends, I have heard that it is really hard for them around the date of when their loved one died. For my mom and I, each day still feels like any other day. Each day we miss our fathers. Some days are harder than the others, with no explanation as to why. Why do these memories bring tears today? Honestly though, I feel no more sad or reflective this month than I did last month or six months ago, and my dreams about him seem as frequent.
There is a BIG difference though between my days now and the days from last year until mid-July: I am no longer freaking out. Yes, for nine months, I was really freaking out with fear and worry and trying to train myself to let go, trust, and find some peace. I will not even claim to have fully accomplished any of these, but as soon as I made the decision to not go back to New York City in August and stay in the UK until October and then go to Washington to stay throughout the holidays, I stopped freaking out and finally started truly resting.
I always felt like I had to prove that I was ok and strong. I had to figure out where to live, how to earn money, move my career forward; doing all of these would show that I was successful and brave, and then I wouldn’t have to worry about rejection as much because people like being around a “successful” person. Look at what she overcame! We’re so proud of her! What an amazing story! That’s right, I was going to be an amazing story! I was going to be my own version of “Eat, Pray, Love”, but I didn’t receive an advance for a book to write, and there has not even been a hint of romance hiding around the next bend during my travels. Isn’t something amazing and huge supposed to happen with all this healing? Where’s my big book idea? Someone who wants to cast me in his or her movie? Wants me to direct? I kept looking and waiting for something big to happen to save me from my shambled life. Hadn’t I earned it with going through my dad’s death so “bravely”? But nothing like that came, and I was scared out of my mind. Eventually, I realized that it wasn’t going to come. Nothing was going to come to give me the easy answer to any of the questions I had: Where should I go? What should I do with myself? Now that I think about it, I did get answers to those questions; they just didn’t come in the form I expected them to.
The decision to stay in the UK until the end of October happened like this:
When I got back to Glastonbury in mid-July to continue my Shamanic Practitioner Training, I went and saw my friend and teacher Rita Hraiz, for an Esoteric Astrology reading. During this reading, Rita received some ideas (what I like to call spiritual ‘clues’ because Spirit never seems to give direct answers, but ‘clues’ to a puzzle that I love figuring out) about me doing a one woman show and heading up the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to absorb as much as I could and figure out how to take my show there next year. After the Fringe, she said she felt I needed to really just settle somewhere for a bit to truly rest and get back in my flow.
(Small tangent: Dearest Readers, I want you to know that the key to discerning what is ‘true’ from any type of spiritual healer or advisor is to listen to yourself and honestly allow yourself to know what coincides with your inner truth. I’ve been told many things and given many ideas that didn’t really ring true to my soul. All good healers know that their clients need to discern information that is given to them. However, you need to know yourself and not let fear or ego blind you from information. Listen to your true heart.)
And we’re back! Rita’s clues rang true to my heart and spirit as soon as she said them. I had no idea as to what type of show I would do, but I trusted that I would be given more clues as time went on, and I have. The show and new project are in works. I will announce them when ready.
It feels good to not freak out. Whenever my fears creep up, I remind myself that fear is a teacher, and I surrender to the unknown as opposed to feeling afraid of it. How am I going to earn a living? I don’t know. What am I going to do if my money runs out before I have a job? I don’t know. How am I going to build my career? I don’t know. It will all work out somehow. I’ll figure it out as I go along and will stay open to receiving more clues.
I feel rested. I’ve taken the time, and I feel ready to go back to Washington for a bit. I do wonder how I am going to feel going back to Seattle. It was horrible when I went back for a handful of days last May. I’ve even had nightmares about having gone back in August and realizing I had made a mistake and needed to be in the UK. I begged Spirit to let this be a dream and let me wake up to discover I hadn’t made this mistake. Then I would wake up with tremendous relief and a knowing that I made the right choice and was exactly where I was meant to be right now. But now my time is almost up, and I’ve been doing exactly what I’ve needed. Now I feel ready to leave. My next Shamanic Training weekend is in less than two weeks, and four days after that I’m on a plane.
I can’t get back anything I used to have in Seattle. Nothing from my life there is the same. That’s really, really hard. Seeing how everyone else has moved forward with their lives and their art and their careers is really super hard and brings tears to my eyes. It’s a struggle not being on stage, it’s a struggle not making movies. It’s heartbreaking knowing that I don’t fit into my communities the way that I used to. Is there even a place for me there anymore, and do I want that place? This is a part of why I’m moving back to New York City after I complete my Shamanic Training in February. The main part is that I always knew my future would lead back to New York, no matter how much I tried to convince myself Seattle was my home forever. Despite the struggles, I do love Seattle and know some beautiful people there who will hopefully help me out a bit in getting my new show started, even if it’s just coming out to support it. It feels good knowing that I’m going back for three months to do something heartfelt and honest in a place that I know really well and for awhile called my home.
My grief encompasses everything that has been mentioned in this blog. It’s not just about sadness; it’s everything that goes along with the death of my dad. It’s everything that is happening in my life. Even my moments of peace, joy, clarity, confusion, and anger. It feels impossible to talk about. I pause and ask myself, “Am I talking about my grief?” Honestly, I don’t know. But I’m trying.