I miss him

In 2002, my father passed away. 13 years ago. More than half my life.

He had been an alcoholic for quite some time. The alcohol took my father away from me. As a kid, I never thought much about it. His alcoholism was a part of my world, and it seemed almost normal. It was normal to go to my mother’s workplace after school, because she didn’t feel safe leaving me home alone with my dad, knowing if there was an emergency, he might be drunk and wouldn’t be able to deal with it.

I was a smart kid, and could have easily dealt with most emergencies. I was strong. I was so strong.

I never really dealt with any of this. I ran from it. I buried myself in work and school and extracurriculars. I didn’t even realize I was running from my past. Recently, I had to slow down. I found the love of my life, and spending time with him, at least in the first few months of our relationship, was very important to me.

They say that when you have past trauma, when your brain feels safe, if you haven’t dealt with that past trauma, it comes back. Little things can trigger it. My therapist explains it like this: You have a closet where you put all the bad things that happened to you. Maybe this closet is full, and things have been shoved in there every which way. When you try to put one more thing in there, everything comes tumbling out. You can only pick up one thing at a time.

I’m not sure what the trigger was for me. Maybe it was something at work. Maybe it was triggered by a medication. I doubt I’ll ever really know. Whatever it was, my 13 year repressed grief came pouring out about a week ago.

If I keep this grief inside me, it will kill me. I know this. But I don’t know how to mourn him. I don’t know how to grieve for someone I lost before they died.

I do know this: I miss my father. I miss him terribly. I wish he was still here. I wish he could see what I grew into. I wish I could cry to him about boys and my life. I wish he could see me do martial arts. I wish I could remember his voice. I wish he could tell me he loved me, one last time. I wish he could tell me that he was proud of me. I wish he was here to hold my hand through a migraine, to meet my boyfriend, to help me move apartments.

I wish he was here so I could tell him that I was sorry. I’m sorry I wasn’t a better kid. Sometimes I feel like if I had done something, if I had been better somehow, seen more, done more, maybe I could have changed what happened.

I know it’s irrational to think that way, but knowing that something is an irrational thought doesn’t always keep that thought at bay.

I wish I knew him better. I wish he was still in my life.