The Sun Keeps Rising

Grief is a strange process. Especially when you avoid it at any cost. I make posts on social media and occasionally I may verbally say “I miss my daddy,” but any expression that requires depth, I avoid. It’s a defense mechanism I guess. I have to keep going, keep living. I don’t want to be the sad girl. It’s approaching two years and I don’t want pity. I don’t want judgement. However, I have not properly dealt with my grief. I sit in my regular therapy sessions and I discuss my mother or romantic relationships, and even my relationships with friends. Rarely do I talk about my daddy or my grief. I don’t talk about him. Not really. I don’t explore my hurt. I don’t explore his absence.

A few months ago, I went through a bout of depression. I had the desire only to lie in my bed and binge watch Blue Bloods. Blue Bloods is a show that my daddy called “our show” because of the father/daughter relationship between two of the main characters. One day I realized that I was watching this show because I missed my daddy. It was my subconscious way of dealing with my grief. After years of sacrifice and consecutive tragic life events, I moved into my first apartment in Houston. It was joyful and stressful. Particularly because my car required a series of expensive repairs around the time of my move. Even though I always have consulted my mom and not my dad about my car troubles, I found myself feeling and saying “I miss my daddy.” The day I picked up the keys to my apartment, my mom was on the phone with someone sharing my news (as she often does because she suffers from verbal diarrhea) and I said to her, out of my mouth, “Who is that, daddy?” I immediately bursted into tears in the leasing office. A couple days later I was driving back to Houston from Dallas and my car wheel was giving me some trouble and I said to my cousin after I couldn’t gain assistance from my mom and others, “I’ll just call my daddy.” Even though something similar happened days before, I still shocked myself.

I’m so happy to start this new chapter, yet there is a damper. There is something missing…my daddy. (I just realized as I typed that sentence and my eyes swelled with tears that THIS is why I have been so moody) I have been depressed, needy, lonely, moody, and simply unpleasant. And I have been in my bed in my new apartment, alone, binge watching Mad Men. The main character and his life reminds me of my daddy. Watching the shows that have connections to my daddy have been unintentional but makes sense. Subconsciously, I’m looking for ways to be close to him, to fill the void that is impossible to fill. My daddy would be so happy for me and taking this step, living my life for me. Even with that being true, I can’t be happy. I can’t help but wonder if every life event that is to come will be challenged but this dark gloom of my father’s absence. I’d like to believe that when I stop avoiding and actually deal with my grief, I will handle life events in a more healthy manner. For now, I am up at 3 am watching Mad Men, feeling every bit of my daddy’s absence and it hurts like hell.

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Timehop

So I check Timehop and Facebook Memories daily. It often provides me with little jewels of my daddy. Today’s timehop was a sad but real moment for me. My dad lived over a year past the video I will be sharing today. Moving forward, time to time I will be sharing some memories provided by Timehop and Facebook.

Whatever Gets You Through The Moment 

When I miss my daddy, I place a small vile of Givenchy Pi up to my nose… and I get a whiff of him. When my heart is severely hurting, I spray the cologne on his robe and I hold it. And in that moment the painful reality is non existent. He’s right here with me, sitting beside me, holding me, laughing with me, holding my hand…but it’s only a moment, then I remember. He is not here.

You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide

I have been collecting little puzzle pieces here and there because I wanted to share my experience through the art of words. I haven’t had the time to organize the pieces and put the puzzle together…but it is coming.

Since my dad’s death, so much has happened. So much good has happened. So much good has happened that at times I even feel guilty. I’m not sure why I feel guilty, because there is a vacancy in my heart that prevents me from really enjoying or celebrating the good. I have no complaints about life at this time….except one: I am terribly sad. I smile. I go out. I have a good time. I live. I thrive. BUT at some point while doing all of these things, I find myself in a dark place. I don’t share these moments with others often. I hide my tears. I slip away if I can. I try to reason myself out of that place. But I have a fear that I will be visiting this place for the rest of my life.

On the daily basis, I keep it together 99% of the time publicly. Today, I have literally been a crying mess. I’ll just assume that most of you reading this do not know my personally. So, I’ll let you in on a little secret….I use to be a cry baby. Like I cried ALL THE TIME. Somewhere between my good friend Joann (who told me directly that she did not like me  when we met because I cried all the time…I am now her daughter’s God-Mother), my good friend Justin (who would look at me emotionless while I cried, until I calmed down and then told me that what I was crying about would not matter in 5 years) and my college boyfriend (who was emotionally challenged himself and had very cold but honest responses whenever I was overly emotional about anything), I have grown to DESPISE crying. When I cry (which is rare) I actually get angry at myself. The conversation I usually have with myself is a cocktail of what those three would say to me.

Today, I woke up from a terrible, but painfully accurate dream and decided I was not going to allow it to affect my day. I went to a meeting at the Junior League of Houston, which went well and I realized that I was finally enjoying my time in the league and making friends, which I previously had found challenging….THEN, I went to therapy. (I started therapy again [HUGE ADVOCATE OF THERAPY] a week ago because along with my hate of crying I have grown to be as emotionally challenged as my ex. Which has led me to force my emotions into the box that I can feel the lid coming off of daily [another post for another day]) Therapy opened Pandora’s Box (Pun Unintended). I began thinking about things that I usually avoid thinking about during the day. A friend introduced me to audiobooks, I wrapped up Joyce Meyer’s The Battlefield of the Mind (which literally took me 2 years to read until the audiobook, which took a week to finish) and I began Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. This was probably a bad idea. Sheryl lost her young husband two years ago. And even though our circumstances are different, her discussion of pain and grief triggered something in me that therapy had earlier exposed.

As I am listening to the audiobook, I am catching up on administrative work for my new job, which I love….and I am crying…..like papers are wet, vision is blurry, crying. Now I am pissed that I am crying. However, I had added an additional task, I am texting my best friend Jasmine and my good friend Nina, basically telling them that I should have dealt with this crap (emotions) a long time ago because now it is interrupting my life. When my dad died, I didn’t stop. I didn’t cry at the funeral. I didn’t deal with it. I told myself, “this is your new normal, you have to figure it out…and not screw up this new job.” And that’s what I did, I got back engaged in the activities, commitments, and goals that I was involved in before his diagnosis. I got a new job, expanded my Houston network, started paying down debt, was accepted into a MBA prep program and got into Grad School (different program from MBA). I was getting my life, the life he wanted me to live, back together. I never took…wait…I still haven’t taken a moment to stop and deal with the great loss I experienced, the aftermath that left me more hurt, or what all of this means. I just kept going. So, my emotions come out in inappropriate ways, such as isolating myself from folks, excessive Instagram posts about my dad, and random late night Facebook posts explaining in detail exactly how I was feeling in that moment. Let’s not even discuss the random crying in public places that leaves me livid. Or bringing my dad up in every conversation I have with friends….and strangers. Oh and there is the leaning on inappropriate people from my past as well. There is that. Bottomline is….I have to deal with this before I really do, “screw up this new job.”

There is also the issue of appearances. If it looks like I have been doing so well, what will people think if they knew that I am just now beginning to deal with his death. I’m sure I already look crazy between the Instagram & Facebook posts. Am I too open about my pain? Are people thinking that its been…..there it was: Today marks the 6 month anniversary of my daddy’s death. 6 months ago, the world as I knew it for 25 years changed. I have not been keeping up with the time passed since his death, because frankly, I go on like he isn’t dead. I wasn’t consciously keeping up with it, but subconsciously, I had to have known, which explains all the damn crying. (THANK GOD I work remotely on Mondays). As I figure this out, I’ll do my best to keep you all in the loop. I think the approach I took today was best….Just stop everything and write.

Daddy, there aren’t enough words in all the languages in the universe to explain how much I miss you. (Crap, here comes the crying again)

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Numb.

I use to be a very emotional person. I expressed everything I felt. I cried a lot. I mingled with my feelings. As life’s experiences grew more complex, my relationship with my emotions grew more distant. I cant say that I don’t feel, but my way of coping is to keep it moving and not deal with the issues. I know, it doesn’t sound healthy. I can’t say that it is healthy. I am able to cry, just not in response to my personal feelings. I can cry for my loved ones struggle. I can cry at Grey’s Anatomy. (and other emotional entertainment, but MOSTLY Grey’s lol) but I cannot cry from my own hurt, disappointment, or frustration.

I explored this revelation when my mother came in my room an emotional mess (which is more common than not with her) about my grandmother’s mental condition. My grandmother is 89 years old and up to this point has been as sharp as a tack with a very sassy and direct personality. Recently, she has been having hallucinations. It has become difficult for her to decipher what is reality and imaginary. It breaks my mother’s heart, mine too. I just can’t express it. I also cannot help my mom work through her emotions (probably because I haven’t worked out mine). I am grateful for the 87+ good years my grandmother has had. To be celebrating her 90th birthday this year is a blessing. My mom sometimes sees other elderly people who can get around well and gets sad saying she wish that my grandmother could do so as well. I have to remind her that my grandmother lived on her own for years and that she is old. (cruel but honest). I often come off cold to her because I cannot effectively relieve her emotional storms. She doesn’t understand that I cannot relieve my own emotional storms.

When I was a little girl I never understood how someone could cut themselves. I didn’t understand the point. It is not something, even to this day I am capable of doing but I sometimes pinch myself to be able to feel. I think I maybe afraid to feel, afraid to love, afraid to be vulnerable. To allow myself to do any of those things, I will have to deal with the stuff I have kept bottled up for the past few years. I can’t work through my dad’s diagnosis, my Uncle Larry’s death (which is still unreal to me), and the other painful events that have transpired in my life. My way of analyzing: I do not have the time to spare for a breakdown and if I do break, who would help put me back together again. I isolate myself (others isolate me as well). I don’t care to talk about how I feel and why I feel that way, I just keep moving and hope that things will get better with time. “You are so strong”….I have no other choice, so I numb myself.

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Control.

Not having control. That’s the hardest part. Seeing something break your heart and slow motion and the only thing that you can do is watch is so hard. I have always had trouble with needing control. I feel like I need to fix things: people, situations, anything that requires improvement. It has only brought me anxiety and disappointment, yet I continue to try to help improve. That anxiety is nothing compared to what I have been feeling as of lately. Some moments my heart beats so rapid and hard, it seems that it could literally jump out of my chest. I get lost in my thoughts. I’m walking around in a cloud. Riding as a passenger on my father’s roller coaster of emotion. There are so many highs and lows, that literally change within moments. What can I do, I cannot allow him to ride alone. So I go through the highs and lows with him, praying for more time. My friends always tell me how “strong” I am…especially now. I never looked at it like that, I just do what I have to do. I just keep going, because if I fall, when I decide to get back up, I’ll be in the same place. “You’re the strongest person I know Christina!”  Sometimes you don’t have a choice. Who do I have to share my weak moments with? Certainly not my dad, whatever I am feeling he is feeling times 1000. Not my mother or step-mother, they are both so emotional and it would probably only bring me more stress. My friends are all moving forward and I can’t hold them back with me. Im stuck here. In this situation. With this diagnosis. In continuous pain. And I have no control.