There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. ~Washington Irving
For someone who believes in living in the moment, facing reality and not dwelling in the past, I did a poor job of managing my own emotions. I didn’t realize I had slipped behind a veil of denial. I didn’t realize my grief had lodged itself in my chest. It had layered and twisted into an invisible but painful knot. I felt as if I’d been caught in an undertow, the current pushing on my chest and stifling my breath. I had vowed to stay strong which might have been my undoing. I wouldn’t allow myself to fully feel, and I couldn’t cry. I lived in only what I can explain as a bubble of fear. I’m not quite sure what I feared except the changes in life, in our family unit. As a highly emotional person, I have no idea how I pulled this off. Needless to say, when it hit me months later, I wasn’t just sad but felt the emptiness and a pain so deep it gnawed my soul.
It has been a year today since my father’s death. The emptiness has quietly taken a seat at the table. Though some days it speaks and I listen. There are days sadness wraps around me like a thin shawl and my soul can’t be warmed. Other days, memories warm my heart and a smile spreads across my face. And there are moments I see those wise eyes looking back at me from a photo and I feel tears well in my eyes. Beneath whatever identifiable feelings, gratitude rises. I am thankful to have had a father who loved me and taught me I am equipped to deal in this lifetime. I am grateful, for I know without his influence my life would not be what it is, and I am truly blessed.
I miss him more than words can convey. He was a gifted storyteller who held attention with his personal flair and humor. While he was a talker, he reserved within undeniable power and wisdom. To those who loved him, he was larger than life; and through us, he lives on.