Every year, about a week before Valentines Day, I start to feel empty. It is not something I think about, it just happens. I can't help it and at this point, I know I just have to feel it. My body remembers the loss, so I let it have that. My muscles, sinew, blood, it all remembers the loss of my father. Even if it slips my mind, though it rarely does. My mind only ever forgets the stuff I need to remember...like big words when I am trying to make an important point to interesting people.
Several years ago, my father died on Valentines Day. It was not the first time I had lost my father; he had left me, over and over again, all my life. It would be the last. It was the only time I was able to tell him that I was not ready for him to leave, and the only time that that information had no effect whatsoever on his departure.
I think of him often; he is in my dreams, I see him staring back at me when I look in the mirror, I hear him when I take on a tone of self-righteousness. His presence and absence formed my world. He is also why I have other biological memories. Memories I can't shake; unnamable fears that haunt me at the worst times.
I sometimes imagine that my boyfriend will just up and leave. He will find someone better, more beautiful, cooler, smarter, stronger than me. These thoughts come upon me almost without warning and produce a very real anxiety within me that I have to work to overcome. Because today, now, there is no threat. My boyfriend is not my father, and what my father did to me, so long ago and many times over, he really did to himself.
But still, I struggle. I must remember that I am not the little girl who gets left behind, I am the woman who is loved. Loved by her boyfriend, loved by her very self. She is a whole other wonderful person in her mind. But her body remembers because the repeated trauma still echoes in her bones.
This is what I work on letting go. This is my last great thing, to get my body to believe the person I have become. To get my muscle, my nerves, my genes to understand that I have become this whole other wonder of a person. I need to wake them up so that they will stop repeating that trauma. I need to let them know that it is okay. That I am okay. That life does not repeat itself, but is a becoming.
Life is a becoming, and it is all I can do to get my biological memory to keep up. So I have to train it, my energetic, my biological body, to let go. My father is physically gone, and I must let the rest of him go. I must let the fear and anxiety that came with abandonment go.
So I will give myself that time and that space. I will allow these anxieties to arise, and just as gently, I will allow them to pass. I will not beat up on myself for my fears. I will love myself for them, because that is what was needed in the first place.
I don't know for sure, but I bet you know someone who needs to hear this. Just in case, go ahead and share. Just to be safe.
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