Two years after you died, I sat on a log in the forest, remembered all the times we wondered the woods looking for linden branches, beech or fir. I felt your presence surrounding me. The birds reassured me that you were well. I decided to accept your death. I let you go.
Something worked. I was able to talk about you without crying, I understood the lesson of loss, I strengthened my life values and, although I hated that you went, I could even appreciate my subsequent growth. I thought that was it. I believed the process of grief and integration of your parting was finally over, on that log. I had gone through all the stages – denial, bargaining, fury – and had finally landed on acceptance. It’s now eight years and I’m still learning from your death.
First, came forgiveness. Hardest was forgiving you for dying. The mind doesn’t think it necessary, because how can you blame someone for having a heart attack. You can’t. And yet, we do. I did. My life lost balance when you left, and I took it personally. I made your death about me. I suffered and felt abandoned. I had forgotten who I was. I identified fully with the father-daughter roles and stayed in the orphan child wound. We are two souls who met in this life and played for each other the roles of parent-child. For a while, until a new stage. Your death is a step in your journey, my life as your daughter is a step in my journey, a blink in the soul’s life. You moved on. You had to. I was a witness caught in the cross-fire of a most natural process, yet I believed myself a victim. The ego turns everything about me, me, me, and the witness becomes a victim. I chose to go back to witnessing and, once more, I let you go.
Then, came gratitude. And I wrote poems about you, I lighted candles and incense sticks, I wrote you letters. I thanked you for giving me life, for bringing me up as best as you could, for the gifts and talents you passed on to me, for the games and jokes and love. I told you you’d been perfect in your imperfection. You’d been exactly what I needed with the good and the bad. I gave you pizza, avocados, coconuts and dragon fruit. I made rituals. I told stories about you, I printed photos and remembered you with joy. It took a long while to see I was doing it all for me. For my peace of having honored you enough.
I held you in my heart with gratitude and love. But the deeper level was fear. I kept you in my heart out of fear. It started when I was a child. You left me over vacations with grandma in the countryside. I was alone and scared at night. Every weekend you came and left. I saved a piece of you in my heart as protection. After twenty years, you left for a lifetime. My scared inner child did as she knew: kept a piece of you as a compass, shield and lamp. Being a woman is hard enough, but a girl without a father is even dangerous. Because “I am not strong enough and I need you to guide me and protect me”. A belief coming from fear, lack and alienation from my inner strength. It no longer served me, and I let it go. I returned you back to you. Decided to be strong on my own. I let you go.
I had to let you go repeatedly, more and more complete, so I could finally receive you.
Yesterday, I received a question: “Are you aware that the power of your father runs in your veins?”
You gave life to me. Your essence, your energy and power are in my blood. You run through me. You and the whole lineage of men in our family, fathers and forefather. The masculine string in the DNA spiral. It’s in me.
You never left.
You’ve always been in my every cell. Clarity, focus, decisiveness, strength, protection, courage. The masculine power and your own unique gifts, learned lessons, talents. The process of letting you go was a preparation for being empty enough so I could receive you fully. Stepping on this earth knowing your power inside of myself. Knowing that power as mine. One taller woman reclaiming the masculine gift. Reclaiming the father. Becoming my own father.
The realization landed and the process felt complete. Yet the mind wanted to know “what to do”. How to do it. How to reclaim that power. So, I gave it a process. “Breathe.” It needed more.
- Light an incense.
- Sit in silence.
- Hear your blood running through you and know that’s your father. The earthy father and the cosmic Father. Feel strength pumping life in your heart. Receive. It’s already there. Nothing to reclaim. Nothing was ever lost nor could it be.
Today, I move on from being the girl sitting in daddy’s lap knowing “his fist is big and will protect us”. I embody the sovereign woman. I choose to feel my inner man. I let him protect me, provide for me, direct me, set boundaries, act with discipline, responsibility and courage. I let him marry my inner woman. I am whole.