“One of the greatest awakenings is when you realize that not everyone changes.‘it’s their journey.that‘It’s not your responsibility to try to work it out for them.”～i don’t know
In 2021 my father passed away. Cancer is … so many things.
Most of the events in between are hazy, but the emotions that accompany them are vivid and unrelenting.
I was the first in my family to find out.
My mother and sister were on a week-long off-grid trip to the west coast of South Africa, where there is nothing but sand, coast and bush.
I lived in China (and still live there) and was under lockdown due to COVID-19.
He called me on WhatsApp (which was unusual) from the Middle East, where he lived with his new wife. Asian and half his age.
A cliché of an old white man in a full-blown late-middle-age crisis. flashy showiness and so on.
He was gaunt and pale. That’s what people look like when they deliver bad news. he dropped the bomb.
“I have cancer.”
What I am about to confess haunts me to this day. I cared for him the way a human cares for another human being’s well-being. However, at that time, I didn’t care at all to the extent that my son should take care of his father. I have built a fort around myself that has protected me from him over the years.
He was never a real parent to me. He wasn’t estranged physically, but he was never there emotionally.
He was emotionally absent. he always was.
I was a weird gay kid with piercings, tattoos, and performance art pieces.
he was a soldier He watches rugby, drinks beer, and is a logical thinker.
We were polar opposites, opposite sides of a completely different currency.
I hurriedly sat with the freshly delivered bombs in my arms and ears. Information I didn’t know what to do with. I felt empty. I didn’t know how to feel or how to react.
Six years ago, in 2015, I flew back to South Africa and spent two weeks on the couch with my mother, who was recently divorced after 40-odd years of marriage and struggling with mixed emotions.
My mother and I have always been good friends. She has devoted her life to a narcissistic man who has cheated on her more than once, who was away for much of her childhood due to his job in the Navy, protecting her sister and me from him. gave me
He hurt her again. And I hated him for it.
she was devoted to him. I will do my best for their marriage. She gave him the freedom to work abroad while she kept the fire burning in her home. She had already faithfully maintained these house fires for over ten years. Ever since she was 16 and pregnant with my sister, who is five years older than me, she has been planning our future.
And this is how he paid her back.
He took everything from her and left her alone in the house they built together before I was born. Haunted by the shadow of an abandoned future plan in a corner.
She spiraled into anxiety and depression, resulting in a double diagnosis of depression and addiction (alcoholism), which was not entirely her fault, and a two-week inpatient treatment at a recovery clinic. rice field.
he caused it.
I remember lying in bed when I was about six or seven. I should have been asleep, the room was pitch black. I heard his father say this in the living room.T.The hat boy has a gnat brain. ”
I think you didn’t understand your elementary math homework or forgot to put something away. Something I used to fall into. A matter that annoyed him so much that his frustration exploded and her anger exploded.
“Shhh! He can hear you,” my mother replied. I can still hear her voice full of regret.
He was logical and mechanical. i haven’t.
I don’t remember my crime or But I still struggle with negative self-talk, lack of self-confidence, and fear of being seen as “inferior” by others.
It’s one of my earliest memories.
And in 2021, I witnessed the news of his diagnosis. He didn’t know what to feel.
Is it guilty of not showing the emotional response it should have?
Is it okay to cry? Shouldn’t you be upset?
How do other people react to this kind of news?
I have always been a very sensitive person. It’s my super power. The power of ultimate empathy. But I sat there and it was empty.
I felt trapped.
I was in China in 2021 and under lockdown due to COVID-19. There were zero flights.
I was trapped emotionally and physically.
Gradually, more emotions began to surface.
At first, I felt sympathy for my fellow countrymen who were facing such a devastating situation.
Then I started to get scared of my mother who kept the idea that we might one day be together.
I was worried about how she would react to this news when she returned from vacation.
Within weeks, a “family” Facebook group was set up with cousins, uncles, people I’d never met before, me, my sister, my mother, and more.
And “another woman” and children from a previous relationship, but we had never met any of them.
Phrases like “Family is always together, no matter how far apart,” flew around in group chats.
I didn’t know how to absorb the feeling.
Is your family always together? Didn’t you tear our family apart? Where were you when I was lying in a hospital bed with a huge abdominal tumor in 2011? Is your family always together? It’s a useful idea in case of emergency.
More guilt. How can you be so bored?
He died a month later in January 2021.
It happened so quickly, so I appreciate it. Humans should never suffer if there is no hope of survival.
That’s when the emotional barrier opened.
I cried for weeks.
I cried for the misery and suffering he caused his family, the despair of my mother, the loss of my sister. I wept for his grandfather, who lost two of his three sons and his wife. I cried for my uncle who lost another brother.
I cried for the future my mother had planned but never materialized.
And I cried for the father I never got and the hope for a relationship I never got.
I sobbed out of guilt for not crying for him.
Then I got angry. TRUE, TRUE anger.
I was upset that he wasn’t the father I needed. I was angry that he hurt his mother. I blamed him for never accepting me. I was mad at him because I was a kid and he was an adult.
It was never my responsibility to be accepted by him.
As the weeks and months passed, the wounds grew deeper. Her mother’s drinking worsened to the point of requiring (very emotional and ugly) intervention.
We learned that my father left his military pension (millions of dollars) to his young new wife, who was less than a year old, and his four children with another man.
I’d like to take a moral stand and say it’s not about the money, it’s simply about the final message of not taking life-or-death care of his biological children, but I’m lying. is attached.
My sister and I have been struggling financially for years and the extra money each month gives us peace of mind, good medical insurance, or at the end of the day, he cares about our well-being. It should have given you that feeling.
However, it is useless to ruminate on it.
Accept what you cannot change.
It’s been two years since he passed away.
As little white balls flit chaotically around pinball machines and souls pierce my emotions with dazzling lights and sounds, I’ve vacillated between sadness, anger, and acceptance.
The word “dad” meant nothing to me. For me it was a verb, not a noun. It was never translated into the concrete world.
My mother once said: “I knew you were a kid who needed more hugs,” she said.
She used to hug me.
But I also needed his hug.
I found a way to accept that he would never have been the father I needed. I never have a relationship with my father. Even if he were still alive, he could never have loved us the way we needed him to.
You cannot give what you do not have.
he was a narcissist. Confirmed by a therapist weeks and months after the sudden divorce.
He never intended to change. he didn’t know how.
Using NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) techniques, I was able to reconstruct my childhood memories of my father.
On that fateful night many years ago, as I lay in bed, I heard those words that have damaged my self-confidence and self-esteem for 34 years. “That boy has a brain like a gnat.”
Through visualization and mental imagery, I have found my way to healing.
Through NLP, I became an observer in that memory room. I was able to give that little boy lying in bed with his head hidden under the sheets the comfort, protection and acceptance he needed.
I wrapped golden wings around her to protect her.
I became my own guardian angel.
During the same session, my NLP coach kindly invited me to look into the living room where my father was sitting that night.
What I saw with my mind’s eye took my breath away.
I saw a wounded, withered man. His legs were drawn close to his chest. I saw pain in him. I saw a man who knew neither to love nor to be loved.
I saw a frightened, confused, and preoccupied man.
At that moment I became the observer, the guardian angel of the next room, a blinding light burst from me and wrapped around him. A glowing cord of golden energy.
I don’t know if the waves of energy enveloping him are meant to heal him or keep him in check. Frankly, it doesn’t matter. It was pure love, compassion and light. And it was coming from me. I was my own guardian angel.
In that moment, all his past longing for love, acceptance and approval vanished. I didn’t need it from him. I needed to give it to him with empathy and compassion. I needed to free him from the anger, hurt and pain he caused.
I needed to do it for myself, but I also needed to do it for him.
I accepted him for who he is.
It required a lot of journaling, visualization, mindfulness and meditation, listening to Buddhist teachings (especially Thich Nhat Hanh), and sitting with emotions.
It took myself and a desire to heal him, to be happy and whole again.
He was painfully human. But aren’t we all?
he was a narcissist. He drank too much, cheated on his wife, never took the time to develop meaningful relationships with his children, and loved Sudoku.
He gave my mother the pain that still haunts her.
She still dreams of him.
If he ever gets the chance to hear from The Great Beyond again, I’d like to think he might say something similar to what Teresa Shanti once said.
“My children, I am sorry that there is an unhealed part of me that has hurt you in the end. You just lack love for yourself.”
He was a very flawed man, but he was my father.