Thursday, April 14, 2016

Writing To My (Still Living) Parents

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Spring is finally breaking through here in Minnesota. The lakes in the southern part of Minnesota iced out weeks ago. The buds on countless trees and bushes are bursting forth. Whatever hesitation the plants of the area had in blooming out will surely disappear over the course of the next several days as temperatures flirt with 70F. I feel relieved that winter is melting away. I have been feeling ready for a new season for several weeks now.

I am still going to therapy. Sometimes I feel it's a bit boring. Other times I still find it a great source of insight. I still feel some sadness within my heart. I still have grief work that I am doing. But the weight of what I feel continues to lighten up day after day, week after week, month after month. A person cannot live in grief indefinitely. Eventually we must conclude mourning that which we have lost and move forward.

I wrote a letter to my father this morning. I am not planning on sending it to him. I will probably reference this writing when I see my therapist this evening. I expressed some thoughts and feelings I have never been allowed the opportunity to express within my family of origin. My thoughts focused on that chain of manhood that stretches back to the faint reaches of ancient history. I wrote about my thoughts about what may or may not have happened when my father was nearly murdered. I do not know how my father's father dealt with the news of one of his own children being nearly murdered...and by his own wife no less. Based on what I know of my grandfather I would guess he was not emotionally available to my own father in a way that would have been of value to my father. It's difficult to know what exactly happened. My paternal grandfather has been dead twenty-five years now. And my own father has long followed a policy of sharing as little information as possible. I suspect that whatever response my grandfather made to my own father at the time of his near death only further compounded my father's suffering. I find it difficult not to believe that my grandfather would have been aloof.

The way men raise their sons is so important. When men fail their sons the consequences can be so important. Those consequences can be very long lasting too. It seems trauma that goes unhealed in one generation virtually automatically gets inherited by the next generation.

I decided to take a stand in my own family. I decided to say "Enough" several years ago and no longer participate in the culture of silence that caused me so much pain, confusion and anxiety. The cost of my decision to no longer participate has been immense. But the cost of going along with the way my paternal family of origin deals with deep pain and dysfunction was even greater. I made a painful choice. I am still saddened by what I have lost. But I also take comfort in the choice I made. I am now the healthiest person I have ever been in my life.

Painful, difficult decisions can be so arduous. But they are a part of life.

I am looking forward to seeing the green returning to the world when I drive to see my therapist this evening.

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