Slumped over in a chair next to an empty glass, weeping uncontrollably, as the aroma of vodka filled the air.
“Are you okay?”
The words hit me like the final wave, ending the life of a tiny boat caught in a giant typhoon. I was holding on for dear life, but that question proved to be my brink. I was far from being okay. It was the Saturday before Father’s day. Father’s day. I’ve always hated that damn day. For the past three years I’ve found it all the more revolting. I was determined for this Father’s day to roll on by without taking pieces of me with it. I didn’t want to be emotional this time around, he didn’t deserve my tears. I was doing well until I saw the facebook notification. A new friend request. It was my father, again. This time under a new alias.
“That son of a bitch.”
What part of being blocked from every form of communication translates into “make an alias and see if she will let you in that way!” My answer was still no, as far as I can tell, it always will be. My last words to him were simply, “you’ve no right to speak to me this way.” Of all the responses one could have to the words, “I hate you”, that’s all I could come up with in the moment.
“He has no right to speak to me at all. Where has he been for 31 years? I came looking for him not the other way around.”
So there I sat, weeping out loud and out of control at my husband’s shins. I tried to explain how I had spent the morning shoving down all of my emotions as they bubbled to the surface. I tried to “toughen” myself up with forceful pep talks and I didn’t want to tell him about any of it. I knew if I had tried, everything would come roaring out of me. I battled in the darkness alone because this was my fight. However, by noon, I could no longer stop the emotions from rising up out of the agonizing pit. Desperate, I reached for my friend, Tito’s. Every time those emotions sprang up, I drank them down with a flame of fury. I wanted to feel something, anything, other than the pain ripping away inside of me. The burn was my friend and I was convinced it would keep those precious tears from falling. After all, I reasoned, I’m a giggly drinker not a sappy one.
“I kept drinking to keep from being sad. But now I’m just sad…and drunk!”
I blurted the words out forcefully, but I kept my eyes fixated on my husband’s feet, too ashamed to meet his eyes. I continued sobbing into the palms of my hands. He quietly asked why I couldn’t just allow myself to grieve, why I felt the need to shove everything down. I argued back that my father wasn’t worth my tears or my grief.
“You’re absolutely right, he’s not. He’s not worth your tears or your grief, but you are.”
I was confused. I had spent the entire day so determined not to feel sorry for myself that his words hit my brain like broken English. Feeling sorry for myself in this moment was to wallow in loss and for whatever reason, that felt wrong to me. By allowing my emotions to have their way, it meant that he was having an affect on me. I wasn’t going to let him win that. My husband tried again,
“You are not crying over your father. You are crying over yourself, the little girl that he left years ago. It’s okay to let her cry about this.”
I collapsed against the chair, realizing the dam had broken and I couldn’t fight anymore. Without another word, he picked me up, moved me into bed, pulling the covers around me, and turned off the lights.
I let the little girl cry into the shadowed room until I fell asleep.
Update: This event occurred two years ago. I wrote about it last year and chose to publish this year. Usually, with my content I try to land on a word of good news. For this piece, I chose to let my pain just stand on its own without the pressure of turning it into an object lesson. As God would have it, my dear friend Lauren had a post published on Key Life today called: God Knows Your Suffering, Sorrow, Grief, and Pain. I encourage readers who need a word of hope after reading my article, to click that link. Its fantastic!!!