Conversation With Grief

Emotions… Ugh. They can be hard and tricky at times. For as long as I can remember, I was groomed to shrug off the “negative” ones. They were seen as bad and unnecessary. They were also seemingly annoying and a huge bother to some, so I worked hard to stuff them and move on.

I have since changed dramatically. I now see emotions as tools, friends even, who come to visit, stay for a while and leave. They come to teach, hone, heal, bring pleasure and more. They aren’t necessarily good or bad, it just depends. I have learned to welcome them as friends and learn the lessons they come to teach me.

Now, I know there are people who are emotionally imbalanced. Some ruminate themselves into worse situations and inflate already horrible circumstances. Some create their own turmoil, completely unbeknownst to them.

I’m not talking about this type of person. I am thinking of one who has done inner work with God’s help, has a high level of (self) awareness and an understanding of who they are and how God created them. I’m talking about a relatively healthy individual, who is learning to process emotions in a healthy way and rid themselves of maladaptive patterns that helped them survive one point in their lives, but these patterns no longer serve them in any (good) way. I am referring to a person who is looking to change, grow and learn. I am talking about a person, much like myself. 🙂

I live in such a way that my mind is never too far from thinking about and/or talking to Holy Spirit. After a Zoom chat, I realized I began to experience grief. In lieu of being busy in order to ignore the uncomfortable feelings I was experiencing, I asked Holy Spirit how I should go about “welcoming Grief” as a friend this time around. Holy Spirit simply said, “Have a conversation with her.”

So, I did it. I got out my journal and wrote out the conversation as it unfolded. I hadn’t planned to share this with you but believe it is a good idea to do so. You know how it is, some things just feel private, sensitive and even silly.

So, with that, here’s my conversation with grief. I hope this blesses you,

With so much love, Patrice

A knock sounds at the door. I go to see who it is and come face to face with Grief. She’s back. Again.

Grief: Hello Patrice, can I come in and visit with you for a while?

Me- (Recognition, realization and acceptance dawning on my face all at once) Yes. Hello, Grief, please, come in. I suppose I’ll make us some tea.

Grief- Thank you for welcoming me in. I know I’m not your favorite guest.

Me- No, but I know you are sent when appropriate.

Grief- That’s right. You’ve come a long way. No, don’t try and mask that, “Then why are you here?” look. Let’s talk about it.

Me: You’re right. I am done with masks. So… I do understand you to be healthy for me. It’s just always painful when you arrive.

Grief: (Comes over to my seat, pulls out a set of chiseling tools and gets right to work.)

Me: Ow!! Why does this always have to hurt so much? Why now? Why can’t you just let me be happy?!

Grief: (Keeps chiseling) Happiness will return. Right now, you need me. I’m not here to hurt you. I am here to help you. See, you’d just as soon wear that filthy mask and slam the door in my face every time I come for a visit, and in doing so, you keep away not just me, but true happiness, freedom and love. Plus, you unintentionally invite others you’d enjoy far less than me, like disease and despair for instance.

Me: Ok, I get that. It’s just not fun when you come to visit.

Grief: I know Honey, but when you make room for me, I work very efficiently and leave you more beautifully healed than before. I won’t over stay my welcome and if you allow me to do what I came to do, I won’t call on Depression to join us. You know Depression doesn’t mind hanging about.

Me: Yes. I know… Grief?

Grief: Yes, Dear… (keeps chiseling different areas)

Me: Thank you. I know I don’t give you the easiest time of working with me, but I appreciate what you do for me. I know I need these visits.

Grief: It’s my pleasure to see you better off as I leave, than when I arrive, Dear. Almost done for this visit, ok?

Me: Ok

Grief: There. All done for now. (packs up and heads to the door)

We walk to the door together wordlessly, as words would simply add unnecessary clutter. At the door, I look up at her. She really is a dear friend to me . She stares back at me lovingly, unflinchingly, and slowly lowers her head until our foreheads touch. We both close our eyes as tears roll down my cheeks, and suddenly, she’s gone.

Me: See you later dear friend.

A Daddy’s Girl

I’ve always wanted to be a Daddy’s Girl. I am my mother’s only child and the last of 6 for my father, so the role doesn’t seem at all far fetched, right?

I imagine being a little girl with my father, doted on, having my childish antics laughed at. I imagine being read to, played with, carried off to bed, being pushed on a swing- all the normal things that should come with childhood.

Instead, I got a lot of confusion and missed opportunities with my father. See, I was told that he (nor anyone) wanted me. My childish response to this was to not only believe it, but I considered myself a huge problem that could be discarded at any given moment if I didn’t do things just right. I did my best to behave in such a way that I was perfect and above reproach. I wasn’t of course, but I tried like my life depended on it, because surely, it felt like it did.

Looking at it as an adult with children of my own, it’s all just sad. I had room enough in my heart for everyone. Being selfish and playing “keep away” with me as the pawn was not at all necessary. I had/have enough room for both of my parents, I love them both dearly, even now, but we have all missed out on what could have been. That’s pitiful.

Another thing that bothers me that I am ready to admit is my feelings about my hometown. I was born and raised in Washington, DC, yet I feel so estranged and disconnected from the place. So much betrayal occurred there that has been exposed more and more over the last few years, I just don’t feel the love. It’s odd because the actual city did nothing, but the memories attached to it are there, hence the connection, or rather, disconnection. I want to have the love for my city that I see in so many friends who are still there. I want to be able to visit with no panic attacks, no anxiety that comes on intensely and suddenly at some weird moment when I’m not even thinking about anything. I want to just breathe it all in- it is a beautiful place- and feel I am home, a home where I want to be, a home where I am welcomed with genuine, unconditional love (not pretend “love”, I know the difference.).

As my father lay dying on October 31, 2009, I sang to him, talked to him, rubbed his face, feet and hair. I kissed him on the cheek and laughed because it was the first time I ever remember doing that. My sisters and I have all, and always kissed our father on the lips. I told him I was sorry we didn’t have a good relationship while he was here but we’d have all of eternity to get it right on the other side. I left his side moments before he slipped away and miss him dearly even now. I grieve what could and should have been and am grateful for what little I had with him. Much of what confused me about him doesn’t any longer, as I have been given a gift.

Three of my 5 siblings also died, but the 2 I have left are very much in my life. In fact, although my oldest (living) sister and I didn’t have much of a relationship growing up, we are now “as thick as thieves”. My sister has put into place many pieces of a puzzle I once saw as utter confusion and very painful. So much makes sense now. Much of it is heartbreaking and sad, but not all. Some of it is heartwarming.

You see, my father did want me. He loved and adored me. All the times he declared his love for me in person and in letters was the truth. I didn’t believe him because I was conditioned to believe otherwise, but it was true. All the friends and coworkers going on and on about how he went on and on about me to anyone who would listen, it was all true and all stemmed from the love of a father for his babygirl. My sister laughed and said, “Girl! He worshiped the ground you walked on! He even went on and on to the rest of us about you and what’s interesting is that we all felt the same. We all loved you and wanted you around more. No one was jealous at all. You were the baby, doing amazing things and we loved you.”

The coolest part of this is that God has gifted me in such a way that I see memories flash by, like a movie of collective memories and moments, all confirming what my sister has shared with me. It’s amazing, especially considering my father is gone and I can’t speak with him or my other siblings now.

So after all this time of thinking no one really wanted me for much beyond what I could do for them, it’s an enormous load off to know it was never true. I am and have always been loved and wanted. I pray you see that you are too. Signed, A bona fide Daddy’s Girl.

Running From Reality

Sometimes, I just don’t want to deal with reality.  I don’t want to face facts.  I don’t want to face the truth of a matter.  I just want to keep it down and carry on as usual.  I want to be happy and come out of myself and help others. The problem is, that happiness wears off after a while.  It doesn’t last a lifetime, it’s fleeting. I don’t want to be sad or angry.  I don’t want to dwell on what I can’t change, but, just under the surface, I am ready to explode.

I want to curse, scream, cry, vomit and stomp.  I want to destroy something, smash something into tiny indistinguishable bits.  I want to know why, I want to know how, because therein lies my pain.

What I am running from is catching up to me and it’s making me angry.  Lord, please just let me outrun it for a few more days, then I’ll deal with it…  I don’t know how long I can keep running.  I just don’t want to face this right now.

On Monday, I found that I was starting the process of miscarrying a child I didn’t yet realize I was carrying.  What I thought was the start of a normal cycle began to change when I realized something was off and then, my body began to expel the remains of my unborn child.

So many thoughts run through my head that make me angry, unspoken thoughts, some of which, aren’t even my own.  Thoughts of mainstream society, people closest to me and others who don’t know me very well at all.  I can only pray no one utters those thoughts aloud.  Lord, please seal their lips and block my gift so I don’t discern thoughts not uttered.

I don’t want to talk about it unless I bring it up, yet I *hate* the idea of people who know, pretending like it hasn’t happened and going on and on talking about their lives.  We are missing somebody!! I just want to hide away in a hole somewhere and come out when all’s well again.

The shock is beginning to wear off.  I don’t want to do this. Not now. I only hope it doesn’t go as badly as the last time.