Dad has been dead for 54 days, of those I spent 38 with mom. I didn’t know that I could do that. My PTSD has manifested different symptoms since then. I am home now and the other night I woke up screaming. I am having dreams ranging from intense to terrible nightmares several times a week, even some of my recurring nightmares from when I was a kid are back.
I had two dads: dad 1.0 and dad 2.0. Almost everyone that was in dad’s life now, knew dad 2.0. Dad 2.0 had done a lot of healing and recovering personally from the experiences of dad 1.0. People should learn, grow and change. However, Dad 1.0 and I had a lot of hard times. I feel like such a jerk that I am feeling so much rage at Dad 1.0, because I knew Dad 2.0 was a different man. I honestly didn’t know Dad 2.0 very well. His community looks at me through the eyes of people who knew and loved Dad 2.0 (they never met the beta version) and I feel brittle and petty. What right do I have to be harmed by things that happened so many years ago? I feel like he helped so many people, why can’t I just get over it? I can’t because I can’t.
While I was in California, I missed a conference that I wanted to go to about cult survivors. The focus was on SGAs (Second Generation Adults), people who were born in cults and have no identity before the spiritual abuse.
I am just starting to really grieve, I have never grieved like this. I feel like a core sample of my body froze and fell out. Grief throbs like a tooth ache, from numb, to dull pain to excruciating. I didn’t realize that grief would be so physical. While in California, I was helping mom and now it’s my turn for me to realize that he’s really dead. Also, the fantasy of our relationship is also dead. The hope that we would ever be truly at ease and comfortable with each other is dead. Anything that we may have shared isn’t possible because we aren’t a we. The hope that one day I would have kids and he would be a fantastic grandfather. Dad 2.0 was an awesome grandpa, I was terrified to let Dad 1.0 around any of my potential children. Fantasy and those hopes are dead.
My fantasy world is doing much better than it should be. I am not here in this body, this state or this reality. The dissociation I deal with as part of my PTSD are fully active and engaged. I think I have almost been in four car accidents since I got home. Waves of the past wash over me and a part of my brain slams on the brakes and I miss a fender bender. I feel myself being thrown into a refrigerator or my head being grabbed and my hair cut off again. I am stuck in this nightmarish loop of memories. The echoes of letters from Dad 1.0 that I found in his filing cabinet while cleaning up for mom are haunting me. His words about how I have been subject to every degradation possible. I realize that so much of my negative self talk, these demons that fly around bashing into my skull are echoed in this writing. What I thought was my self loathing is fully scripted out in these writings I found.
It all came from somewhere, that is comforting and horrifying. Where did his self loathing come from? I don’t think I’ll get to know.
And I love him. He did so many wonderful things. And I feel robbed and angry. And now he’s dead. What am I supposed to do with that?
Well, I am trying to ground. Trying to let my feelings flow and not get into car accidents. I am moving to liberate the grief from it’s crevices. I’ve been talking and swimming and dancing. I am trying not to be numb.
This morning after a very frustrating phone call, I realized that I was stuck and numb. It was raining outside, pouring. I was told to do physical things when I feel emotionally numb and detached. I grabbed my bath towel and put it on the lawn and laid on it in my pajamas. My skin gets very sensitive when my adrenal system is stressed and I feels like nerve endings are shooting out my pores. It felt like the rain was stabbing me. I started to breathe and my system started to calm down. The rain started to feel like rain again and not a thousand razors. I stayed out there for a long time feeling the cold, feeling the rain, feeling the ground. Just being there and grateful that none of the neighbors were out and about.
I sat up and the sobs welled up in my chest. I cried and cried and watched a frog eat a bug. I cried and saw two bright red cardinals hiding from the rain. I cried and watched the raindrops follow a very complicated labyrinth to the ground and the little frog sitting in the perfect spot to have the rain miss him. I cried until I was done. I stared at my pajama pants and saw the freckles from my legs showing through the fabric. I did one thing at a time.
My tears pushed out the anger so that compassion was next in queue. Now it’s compassion’s turn for the next little while.
My dad was very human and so am I.