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Almost 12 weeks ago my Dad died. 8 weeks ago I shared the news to my email list, and I haven’t mentioned a word of it since. I have announced a new website, shown pictures of my new office but I haven’t talked much about the foundational shift and what at times feels like an unbearable loss in my life. Today, as I was making my coffee, I was asking myself “Why not?, “What’s up with that?” I who believe and teach the phrase “embrace the mess” haven’t been doing so in a public way. I have been painting it pretty for the world, and that isn’t how I want to live my life. I realized my Monger had taken over.
Here’s a bit of what my Monger and my Biggest Fan had to say about it.
No one cares about your suffering. Everyone suffers, and when we share our suffering and support each other, it makes life feel less lonely. Pretending you aren’t suffering because ‘everyone suffers’ isn’t helping anyone.
Everyone loses a parent. True. But YOU don’t lose a FATHER every day. This relationship was one of the most important in your life so YES it is going to be hard and life altering and all that ‘messy’ stuff. By stuffing down your grief and pain, you are also stuffing down all the beautiful, loving aspects of the relationship.
Stop being a cry baby. Cry all you want to honey. Life is about pain and sorrow and joy and laughter so go ahead cry, sob, shake your fists in anger and then later you will find yourself laughing and sharing. THAT is living a life. It gets exhausting, and it feels overwhelming, but it is living. Pretending all is well, denying the sadness, packing your schedule with STUFF, so you don’t have to deal. That is running that isn’t living (and honestly it is MORE exhausting and overwhelming).
You teach about living happier..not about grief. Yes, but grief is a part of life and a part of living happier. And I am finding NOTHING brings out the Mongers like grief. Grief knocks us off our game and brings up all kinds of scary sh*t which FREAKS out our Mongers who then try to ‘fix’ the situation by telling us how wrong we are for grieving.
You should share it when you are through it not now. There is no through, not on this one. There is learning how to hold the hole left by the loss of my dad in a different way. Learning how to live with the loss. Learning how to have the victory and reach for the phone and realize he isn’t there to call. Learning how to move through those situations will take years, if not my lifetime.
So here are some new phrases I am going to try to adopt:
Just Do You. You don’t have to have everything figured out. Own what comes up. Honor it and do your best to navigate the world.
The world won’t always get it. Looking for approval on how to do it from the outside world won’t always work in your favor. So stop looking there. Trust and be thankful for the people you have who consistently show up (not matter how few).
This sh*t’s hard. And that’s ok. Honor that this season in life is hard. Stop running.
Stop trying to paint it pretty. It isn’t always pretty, but it isn’t always ugly either. It just is. Life isn’t black and white it is a big beautiful swirl of color embrace it.
Compassion Compassion Compassion. For yourself and those around you.
There is a temptation for me as a counselor/writer to act like I have it all together. But I believe we learn the most when we share our messy stories, not our pretty ones. So that is what I am doing today.