Grinchy, grief and gold
I’ve been feeling grinchy this season - full on grinch-mode.
The holidays, decorating, singing (gasp!), and all the planning were a BURDEN. This is sooo not me as I would delight in decking the halls, baking and singing grand carols - in August.
This year, a burden.
So, I asked myself, “What do you need in order to feel Christmas?”
And I heard back, “Dad.”
My Dad died this past March. This is my first Christmas without him and let me share: it’s a mixed bag for me. A part of me feels relief. Big relief. Another part grieves. Many other voices (or parts) come forward too. Overall status: it’s complicated.
Dad was a raging narcissist. Abusive emotionally and abandoned our family over and over again. He blamed others for his behavior and especially his children. I learned this is backassward but carried the idea that, “It was my J-O-B to make sure our relationship was good” well into my adult years until I could deeply learn that it was actually NOT my job. (Making a note to myself to write more about “Parentified Children.”)
A big part of me deeply grieves what I never had. I never had a reliable father growing up. I never had a present father. He was always looking through me: outward and onward. I was never good enough, love-able enough or even worth being around. In fact, my life was a burden. I ached for his presence and caught glimpses of “him” (his soul) in the sweet moments of camping in the forest where he could more easily arrive.
I also have another part of me that grieves and is deeply hurt by what DID happen. The neglect. The abuse. The deep longing for him to love me. This little part of me, my little one, is healing and is home now, back with me in my heart. I now get to take care of her as it’s my joy and honor. (Another post about Fragmented Parts / Soul Loss and Retrieval / Complex Trauma coming soon.)
Me, the Wise Me is full of compassion and gratitude toward Dad. He gave me life, great lessons and ultimately the gift of why I am a Hakomi therapist / healer / energy worker. I learned that I am intuitively led largely BECAUSE of the skills I learned within the trauma: keen awareness, acute spidey senses, and the ability to read people in a split second. I CAN FEEL THEM.
It’s not his fault and I don’t blame him. I mean, yes he did do all those things (or mainly NOT the things I needed) but it was without intention. There was no parenting intention, presence, inward curiosity. As a young boy, dad was raised in a home with massive abuse and as a young father he did the best he could. But he felt trapped in the family he created, and like a bunny, he fled. Over and over again.
In his last weeks of his life at only sixy-eight, he showed remorse by unrestrained tears. Tears of longing. Tears of wanting to do things over. Tears of relief too perhaps from bearing pain so great from the ravaging cancer.
His tears showed me his own deep suffering. Loss. Ache for love. Cavernous loneliness.
When I went to visit him in Las Vegas after nearly 20 years of estrangement, he requested pictures of our past, almost like grasping for anything that was meaningful. Perhaps seeking proof there were fleeting glimpses of love, connection, family. And in-between bouts of crying, when I could see him eye-to eye, he was totally fucking right there. Present.
He taught me big things that cannot be taught without suffering: When we abandon others, we also deeply abandon our own Self.
When we cannot hear others, we cannot hear our Self.
When we cannot see others, we cannot see our Self.
When we judge others, we judge our Self.
Simple hard truths.
In the moments upon asking my Self, “What do you need in order to FEEL Christmas,” and hearing, “Dad,”...
Grief came pouring in, heavy, but with a containment of trust that it will move through.
Then it turned to calm.
And an opening happened where I could feel my heart expand again and the rich loving feeling of Christmas came in: joy, anticipation, love, rest.
So I now turn to you and wonder: if you’re feeling grinchy, melancholy, bleh, or just outright angry this season. So be it.
There’s no “right way” to be, though we are told elsewise.
Just be you.
Fully present in whatever is right there for you.
And perhaps ask your Self, “What do you need?”
Perhaps you’ll find your own gold.
Jendi Watson, Hakomi Therapist. Mother. Wife. Pho. Jazz. Campfires. Caroling. Black coffee. Lover all of the great raw ways of being human. Gizmo.