Last Conversation with My Dad

IMG_1583

Last year in the last week of may was the last time I heard my father’s voice. I was in Paris with girlfriends and then had ny husband join me for a couple of days to celebrate our anniversary. It was the first time we left kids for that long to do this.  Granted, they were with their grandma.

My dad was in Paris to pick up his youngest son and bring him home to Zagreb. He planned to watch French Open so the only way he thought we could see each other was for me to come to the gates and message him from there to come meet me.  None the less, he was in Paris an entire week.

It took everything for me to say no to his proposal to meet him by the gates and not because I didn’t want to make an effort to see him but because for as long as I could remember, I was the only one making an effort. I thought this changed when he broke the streak of broken promises 2 years before this by coming for a weekend to meet my older son and spend some time with me.  I appreciated that very much, but the reality is, this was a rare moment and one of  few I can count in the past 30 years.

I decided to do what works not what I wanted.  French Open was in a completely different part of the town and had I gone there, I would’ve missed a chance to see Paris and I felt that I worked really hard to earn that trip. I was so mad because I really wanted to see him and introduce him to my husband.  And yet, I didn’t feel like it was ok to invest so much money, time and effort in celebrating my anniversary to set it all aside and adjust my schedule to my dad’s. I was mad that he didn’t want to find another way. He was mad that I didn’t accept his proposal and that I was mad and that was it. 

He never spoke to me again. I reached out a few times and then stopped. Some time in November I began to feel regret that we weren’t talking.  Then I realized, it wasn’t up to me.  I didn’t mind reaching out, but I think everyone eventually gets tired of trying.  I knew that in every possible way, I tried to be better, more understanding and forgiving.  I didn’t see any effort on my dad’s part.  On contrary, he always gave himself an out by saying: “I am the way I am” and by asking me to “let it go.”

I cried my eyes out over this that night.  If I wasn’t happily married, I would’ve felt completely unlovable.  In fact, from time to time my husband reminds me that he will not abandon me because that experience, even though from childhood, still felt ingrained in my mind.  I even did a family constellation session.  I thought, why not give it a shot to try to repair this relationship on a soul level.  My friend, and facilitator told me: your father is there for you on a soul level, but his body doesn’t know how to be.

On New Year’s day he sent me a message with greetings. I responded with a picture of my family. He wrote back that it was beautiful to see us. On my birthday, a few days later, he had a stroke he never woke up from.  I often wonder if my clearing had something to do with his sudden reaching out.  Did he know deep inside that something was going to happen.  Had he not, the last thing I would remember would be the fight with him from my expensive hotel room about him not willing to make time to see us.

Am I at peace?  most of the time. It’s bitter sweet. On one hand, I stood up for myself a year ago in Paris and broke the habit of always setting everything else aside when my dad is available.  I am glad I did that because I didn’t want my marriage to come second to my dad’s crazy expectations of me (that he doesn’t have of himself).  But I am sorry.  I am sorry I got mad and I am sorry that I couldn’t have it just wash off of me and leave no impact.  It’s silly that we get mad at people for being who they are.  My dad was being true to himself and whether or not that was enough for me, I have to accept it.

I could feel guilty but I am not going to.  I am writing this just to share because I often hear people beating themselves up over choices they made in the past.  The things is, the time is always now to make the right choice.  After that, the only choice we have is to make peace with it.  I made peace with mine.  I still and completely love my dad.  And I know he loved me. We had whatever time we had.  May he rest in peace and may my children never feel I am hard to get through to in any way.  This is not the end of grief, however, for me.  It’s merely a beginning ❤

Missing grandma, understanding loss

Sharing this blog from 6 years ago as I am clearing my draft folder.  I found it just in time for grandma’s birthday next week.  I had a few losses after grandma passed and thought it would push my missing her aside.  It didn’t.  It merely reminded me that her spirit must be with me all the time.  Here is my blog:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“I cannot sleep.  I keep thinking of grandma and how quickly she passed.  There really was never a right time for her to go, I am sure of it.  Even though I am 34 years old, I seriously never once got friendly with an idea that eventually people we love will die.

I am sure someone will read this blog and think how immature I am on the subject.  It’s probably surprising to so many that I am a queen of creating and manifesting things in life and that I am so deeply shaken by this loss.  And, I am.  I am shocked, shaken, heart broken and forever changed.

We become prisoners of guilt, perhaps, way too fast to really be able to be face to face with a raw feeling underneath.  So long as we feel guilty, we truly don’t take any responsibility for that we are killing ourselves along with the person we just lost.

It took me days to figure out that I wasn’t willing to forgive myself for that I didn’t speak with grandma the day before she passed.  I learned a lesson long ago about how to forgive myself.  It worked then so I asked my husband to go find my note to him when I shared it.  And there it was, simply put: “my actions were completely correlate with the way the world occured to me….(I simply didn’t know that that was the last time I would ever get to speak with grandma, else I would get off my call and spend time with her)…why punish myself for that?”

And I did forgive myself for not knowing.  There truly isn’t anything new I would say to grandma at that time. I kept her really well updated throughout the years and often time it was all “too much information.”  Years ago when she was in New York, I made sure I shared how much I appreciated her and why and she was able to share her love with me.  So, there isn’t anything else I would say, or anything other than “I LOVE YOU” that I could repeat an infinite amount of times. And now that the guilt is gone, I truly am dealing only with a loss.

This isn’t anyone’s fault. This isn’t good or bad.  It just is.  I am facing the reality of life for what it is. I remind myself over and over again to be grateful for what I had.  I remember grandma.  I think of her all the time.  She is even more present now that I know that she is gone because I can see all of her in me.

There isn’t a better advice in life than the one we learn because someone did it not told it.  Grandma had grace that I only hope to achieve in my life time.  She was nice to people.  She got along well.  I cannot say that I am the same, but in honor of her, I want to be.

I am so lucky to have a wonderful husband who is my shining star in good and in bad.  I know grandma wanted me to have this kind of love in my life. She knows I believed it was possible and she, for sure, was helping me make it happen by believing in me every step of the way.  She never took off her wedding band, even 30 years after grandpa was gone. She loved, so much, so forgivingly.  Ah… There is nobody like her, and nothing can replace her.  I am blessed to have shared my lifetime with her.”

I love you grandma!!!!

 

Breaking the Silence

My father passed away last month.  I couldn’t get myself to write about anything else and the wound was fresh, the emotions bubbling up.  I always stand for authentic communication and was wondering how do I do that when it involves other people.  How do I write the truth about myself without mentioning people in my life who are part of my story?  I wonder this a lot because I am committed to living in the truth.

In my younger years, I learned that “rising above” was a better way to be about things in life.  I learned a few years back that being kind and keeping my mouth shut, protecting people from their own poor behavior was only shooting myself in a foot.  More often than not, people believe the story they are told.  They are not invested in finding out what everyone else’s perspective is on the subject and I find that unfair.  I no longer think that being silent or stepping out of the equation is good in and of itself.  On contrary, I believe I am responsible to tell my side of the story.

Years ago, and I think through this blog, I shared a story about my dad.  I sent him a link, thinking, it was appropriate that he knows about it.  I was proud of the way I’ve written it, I thought there was no shame and blame just simply my perspective on life as I lived it.  I remember him telling me that his younger son, my step brother, already told him about it and that when he asked if I was harsh with words, his son answered: “so-so.”  I was a bit wounded.  People walk around blaming other people for their lives, here I was, reframing my dad’s absence into a story of my becoming the person I was and it was still not good enough.  I was wondering, can anyone ever saying something personal without it meaning something bad about someone else.

We are all connected.  While this sounds like a total cliche, it actually isn’t.  We really are in this together.  People in our lives are merely mirrors for what we need to discover about ourselves and move through, evolve.  Perhaps all those fingers pointing at me for sharing my stories are making me stronger because in absence of approval, it is that much harder to stand for something we believe in.  And I, I simply believe in truth, in writing, in art, in being with one another.  We all make mistakes, we all mess up, but owning it allows us to transcend it, to stay present, to learn from it.  And there, I broke my silence and my concerns about writing.  I have a voice to use it. And so do you… woman