Dec 25, 2016

Grief caught off guard

He is saying on the radio today, that grief can show up unexpectedly as a lightning years after. He, the actor and author from my region talking on that topic. And I burst into tears this Christmas Day, probably because we share the dialect and culture. And because my dad would have loved his stories.

I know I haven’t grieved my father properly. The grief can hit me like it did today, caught off guard. A picture. A laughter. A rose bud. An annoying weed in the flower bed. Fragments surfacing. But I did never swim in the sea of that sorrow, exclusively. And as an attempt to do a little bit of that now when my wound is open I am going to express why. On this Christmas Day. Grateful and happy after a wonderful Christmas Eve with my family.

My father died late november twelve years ago. At the same time my sons’ dad, my ex husband, moved on with his life. We had been divorced for a year, but he was still my best friend. I got to know this as I was sitting writing the obituary. The funeral right before Christmas, the Holidays, New Years, those weeks an inferno of tears, rage, loss, fear and feelings of being abandoned. My father was very fond of me. So was my husband. Loosing the two of them at the same time was beyond words. The two sorrows entangled in each other. But the loss of my best friend dribbled out the one of my dad. Partly because I had not seen it coming, it was a shock there and then. Partly because I had two teen age sons to see to in the middle of this.

Which I did poorly. Did I take my son’s hands during their grandfather’s funeral? Did I hold them close to me? I don’t know. I feel like I didn’t although I might. I was occupied keeping standing on my to feet. I was trying so hard pulling myself together, acting like a grown up.

For the longest time I was a wreck. I didn’t have a lot of support nearby and to a part I can understand why. You are divorced, right? And you initiated the divorce. Yes I did. But life isn’t black or white. Nothing is black or white. And divorcing ones best friend also the father of ones children something so difficult no one should have to get through it. At least not at the same time as loosing someone else close.

I was a wreck. Oh I did hug my children, I did. I would say I was clinging to them. I needed to be close. Loosing my best friend over shadowed loosing my father and my focus on that change for my family over shadowed the loss of a grandfather. Finally my children asked me to go and talk to someone. Which I did. For a long time. But one of the things I feel the most bad about in my life is that I wasn’t able to be a mother when my children lost their beloved grandfather.

Nor was I able to take care of my own loss of a beloved father. But it’s been twelve years, why not during all this time? Because life isn’t a quite lake to contemplate. Life is a more or less stormy sea. A fierce waterfall spraying your body and soul with goods to handle. Life isn’t a cozy fireplace to snuggle up beside. Life is wild fire to keep on a short leash.

The grief over my dad is encapsulated in everything that’s been my life beyond him. Everything else that’s been needing and needs more acute attention. So today, listening to the actor/author speaking my dialect talking about grief, I had one of those moments when dad comes dancing before me. Literary. He loved to take a little spin by himself. And I hear his laughter. The laughter that everyone loved. I feel his including spirit. And I cry. Realizing at some point I need to take care of this for real.

And yesterday, on Christmas Eve, we closed the unwrapping of the Christmas gifts with standing up singing “Du gamla du fria”. My dad was probably the only Swedish Santa wrapping up the gift delivery with a crazy little spin and a free spirited interpretation of the national hymn. Maybe the only one in the world. The one and only.

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