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Grief is a funny place

I was listening to Jannette McCurdy talk about her grief journey, on Annie McManus’ podcast, Changes. I was walking around the harbour, sun shining on my face, feeling fine. I had posted a story here with my feet up on a bench hoping to look all inspiring and cool, whatever that means.

Then she said she felt rage when thinking of missing her mother, that had died and was abusive to her.

My heart skipped a beat, my mouth felt dry, my blood rushed to my head, and my eyes filled up with tears. What the hell?

I don’t have a dead abusive parent, what could possibly made me relate to that?!

The rage. The rage of loving someone one that somehow you feel, and most people would probably confirm to you, that doesn’t deserve your love. Doesn’t deserve your grief. Doesn’t get to be missed in your heart.

My dad passed away about 6 years ago. Same day that Trump got elected, of all days - disgraceful day. I rarely talk about him. To anyone. But suddenly I felt I had to write a book about him. What a strange thing to say, to think.

Growing up, my dad was always a fun and loving dad. At least from the perspective a child sees a parent. But as a person, he was a mess. Unfulfilled, selfish, lost, irresponsible and an addict. He was also charming, creative, curious, good with languages and music, magnetic, the type of person you would almost immediately like.

He liked Pink Floyd, Bob Marley and - confusingly- Rod Stuart. He was a great cook. He was adventurous with food. He loved to travel. I bet he would have been a mad, loopy, happy nomad if life had been different for him.

He would most definitely make you laugh on a good day. On a bad day, not so much. He would normally make me loose my temper. There was always something that would make me feel so much anger towards him. But mainly disappointment. Ah, the sadness of getting to know your ‘faulty’ adult parents. A lot of us know that feeling very well.

What I didn’t expect, is to have to deal with that feeling after he died. Loosing a parent that is far from perfect is hard. You feel you don’t get the same rights to mourn them. But they are still the people you love the most, undoubtedly.

So grief comes and goes in the most unexpected ways. A funny place to be in, a strange place to visit. I’m writing this in floods of tears, in a public space, people passing by probably wondering what could be hurting me, where my pain comes from. This is what happens when you put feelings on hold, on the shelves. You don’t feel them and you don’t let them go.

The reason I’m sharing this is not to take you on a reflection on my tragic-silly way to process grief. Hopefully if you have read this far, I hope it serves as an opportunity to think about those things or people you feel ashamed to grief, or feel unworthy of letting go.

Someone you loved deeply and betrayed your trust? Someone that has disappeared without notice or explanation?

Life before having kids? Life while your kids where small?

Whatever it is, go on, sit with it, have a good cry about it, write about it. If you do it now, you might safe yourself the public cry session.

But if you don't, that's also fine.

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