I wept deeply and profoundly yesterday. I was visited by both my deceased parents. My mom was a light-hearted silly fairy angel. My father let me go.
I spent the last nine months of my Dad’s life taking him to doctors appointments and advocating for more information, communication and collaboration between treatment professionals, and general patient care. I put my life on hold. It was a gift that I was honored and privileged to provide for him.
I made up a story during my childhood that I was born to soothe my Dad’s pain. I believed my purpose was to bring him joy. This story stayed with me for a very long time. It made me insecure about having needs. It made me afraid of being who I really was, a miracle of love with my own interests, my own desires, my own personality. As I grew older I expanded this story to other people in my life. I was eternally afraid of being less than what I made up that everyone in my life wanted and needed. I believed I had to be perfect to everyone all the time or I would lose affection, love, and friendship. Worst of all, I believed I would fail at my one purpose, complete responsibility for everyone’s freedom from pain. Clearly an impossible task, like Sisyphus pushing his boulder to the top of the mountain everyday to watch it roll down each night, required by fate to do the same again tomorrow.
The irony is that in this setup there is no room for affection and love, the two very things I most feared losing. It kept me guarded behind an armory of defensiveness and control. A bulletproof 12-foot thick wall lay between me and those I cared about.
In a dream a few nights ago my Dad sat with me at my doctor’s office ready to be my advocate, while I waited for some important test results. The next day when I told my partner about the dream, my Dad came to me again. He apologized for making me so tough. He assured me I didn’t have to be so strong. My partner, who was delivered to me three days before my Dad transitioned from his body, was safe. The world didn’t have to be so scary after all.
My Dad set me free. He released me from the imaginary threat of the story from my childhood. He told me it was time to tear down the wall. My cosmic lesson was learned as he let me go. No one is responsible for anyone else’s happiness or pain. I am not responsible for ending anyone’s suffering but my own. In this freedom I feel a new trust and safety in my body, in my skin, with who I am.
As I wept, my partner saw me. He loved me more, not less, for my sadness, fear, and vulnerability. He opened a window for me to climb through while the deconstruction of my walls continues. I am not in control and I am safe. The possibility of authentic love abounds.