Grief and Writing

Close to one year ago, I moved back to New York to be surrounded by family and to rebuild my marriage. At the time, the decision to move home was more than simply a choice. It was a calling. For months I felt like I was being pulled toward home and I couldn’t wait to arrive. Not only was I going to have the opportunity to reconnect with my loved ones, my son was going to have the chance to really get to know his entire family. He would now truly understand what it meant to have grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I couldn’t wait to immerse us in the chaos, love, cohesion, and sometimes craziness of family.

In the true spirit of reuniting, my son enjoyed his first birthday in New York surrounded by his entire family. Thirty of us, packed into a very cool and very small place, together to celebrate my son and our arrival back home in New York. It was a glimpse into the new life that was upon us and my heart was filled with a sense of contentment and joy that I had not felt in a very long time.

And then my dad became sick. The next two months were spent by his side, mostly in the hospital, but also at my home and at my parents home. I suddenly understood the intensity of the pull I felt to return to New York and knew that I was being given the gift of time. I hated seeing my dad sick, going through so much pain, so I found a way to be grateful. Grateful for the opportunity to truly reconnect, sitting and talking and doing the things we used to do when I was growing up. Grateful to be able to help my father and give back to him.  Thankful for what a truly wonderful father he had been to me. Grateful that my son was now getting to spend so much time with his papa to really get to know him. We began to make plans for the future, baseball games we would go to and trips we would take together as soon as my dad got better. There were so many memories to be made and we were all so excited to begin making them.

And then my dad died. Suddenly, one of the happiest times of my life, reconnecting with family and reconciling my marriage, became the absolute most devastating time in my life that I had yet to experience. My world came tumbling down and I was thrust into a process of grieving that nothing in this world could prepare me for. I felt overwhelming sadness, a lost sense of self, anger, longing, and a desire to both isolate and insolate myself. My father was gone and I just wanted to scream, kicking and punching like a 2 year old, that it wasn’t fair. It was just not fair! We were finally going to get time together, real time, and now he was gone. It was all gone. My vision of our future had been altered and there was nothing I could do about that.

A long process of grieving began. A space that I remain in now, and imagine I will live in for quite awhile. It is defined as the unknown, and is filled with uncertainty, inconsistency, and discomfort. It is a process that possesses great force and at times has felt like a black hole of pain. What I didn’t expect was that this space would also be filled with moments of peace, joy, and a deep and unexplainable connection.

Somehow, in losing my father here on earth and in his human body, I have been given the gift of feeling connected to him in a way that was not possible while he was alive. I have had moments of being encased by his overwhelming sense of unconditional love for me. Understanding for the first time in my life exactly what it meant to be his daughter. I have been gifted with dreams of him, filled with conversations and physical connection. I feel him with me throughout my days and know that he is always close by my side. The most recent gift has been that I have begun to embody him in different ways. A certain way he would hold his lip when concentrating, as well as the way he chose to exist in the world. I can feel myself walking in his footsteps, filled with overwhelming peace and joy.

As I come back to life, beginning again to feel inspired and hopeful. I know that it is this process that helps me to heal. Through writing and sharing, I am able to feel my heart open and love fill the spaces of pain and sadness. Writing is a way to claim my experience, give myself a voice, connect with others, and contribute to the world around me. It is a tool that guides me out of the darkness and into the light, a vessel of expansion and freedom.

….Writing is the gateway to pulling forward the limitless love that lies within my heart….