So I was talking to a sweet friend of mine about addiction and grief and all that makes life hard and beautiful at the same time. You see, she has struggled with addiction and it’s not my job to tell her story, so I won’t. But it did make me think of addiction in my life. My dad struggled. Hard. And consequently I’ve been around a lot of other souls growing up that did too. So I’ve spent the majority of my life trying to not be addicted to anything because I didn’t want to be addicted. And perhaps, deep down, I thought I didn’t want to be them. Even though “they” are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met.
As I’ve walked through my menial 28 years on this earth I have determined that people who have walked through a 12 step program and things like it are my favorite. They live day by day. They embrace freedom. They embrace struggle and they embrace those who have struggled which is really what we are all here to do, right? Embrace the hard things. Together.
Every addict that I have met is “brutiful”, as my friend Glennon Melton would say. Ok, she’s not my friend, but I’m on a big metal bird flying through the sky from Kentucky to California, so right now I feel that wishing is appropriate. Someone wished for this and here I sit, flying, so I shall wish for that. Anyways, their lives are brutal AND beautiful. Each and both. And I think that most of them would agree to that as well.
So I think that while I’ve spent the majority of my life trying to NOT be something, but then when I really sit down and look at my current state and the last few years of my life I’m pretty sure that I ended up that way anyways. At least for part of it.
You see when my dad chose to take his own life, I grieved. Hard. And no one expected me to do any different. And I’ve spent the last 6 and half years doing it in some way. Don’t get me wrong, my life has carried on seemingly normal. I have a full time job and a part time job and incredible friends and a wonderfully dysfunctional family. I have traveled and lived and learned and healed. I’m a completely different woman than I was on August 21, 2008. Thank God.
But do you ever have those moments when a light just gets turned on and all of a sudden you have that “AH HA!” moment?? I had one the other day when I was at the gym. I would partially like to thank the friend that I spoke about at the beginning of this essay and then I would also like to thank my primary care doctor and the wonderful inventors of Paxil, you beautiful little anti-depressant, you. So as we were at the gym the other day I was asking about my friend’s recovery process. She began telling me how it’s hard and it’s changing her and all of these steps she takes and then it happened.
My light came on.
I had been what I didn’t want to be. I had been addicted to my grief. I had held on so tightly to grieving my dad that it had become part of my identity. Anytime I was sad and didn’t know why, my dad was why. His choice. His absence. I always resulted back to it. It could have been money or depression or rejection or rain or a bad hair day. But I always went back to losing him because that grief was totally justified. I have always said since losing my dad that I feel the closest to him when I am sad about him. So I think that in not REALLY processing that, those tears and those “bad dad days” as I liked to call them, were always me seeking just to feel a little bit closer to the man that I miss with my whole heart who will miss so many firsts in my life. And that hurts. And it will always hurt. But I think that in returning to that grief every time that I felt a small tinge made me attached to it like you get when you keep going back to a relationship that hurts you but you just can’t seem to move on because even if the pain is painful, you know the pain. You’re friends with the pain. You’ve wrapped a bow around the pain and tried to make it pretty so that people don’t think it’s weird.
My grief had a really pretty bow and looked all hand made and like I’d pulled it off of Pinterest. No one ever told me it was weird because when I told them what it was, no one said a thing about it because I had been through hard things to get my bow. That bow was earned and would forever be ok to anyone that I gave reason for my bow.
So now, while I have had this great realization, I’m still trying to figure out where to go from here. I’m learning because I hope and pray to always be learning. I have a lot of firsts ahead in the next few months and I hope the hard days are difficult for their own reasons. And I know that I have plenty of days ahead that I will desperately miss my dad, and I hope that those days are hard for that reason. And that I can grieve and celebrate and miss him in those moments. Until then, here’s to freedom and change and hard things.
Keep on keepin’ on.