So dad’s death came up today in my meeting. We have these daily readings, and today’s was about death and how you deal with it.
The reading talked about facing a crisis, specifically the death of someone close to you, the grief you feel, and the urge to run and hide from those emotions as they arise. The person reading had just lost his mother a few weeks back, so I am sure it hit him hard.
And of course, the emotions started to conjure inside me as I began to think about a wound that is almost 12 years old now, but when reopened, it felt like just yesterday.
When I wrote the first post about my dad, it was because my sister asked how much I think my dad’s passing had an impact on the life I chose to live? Would I have still decided to sell drugs, and would I still go to prison?
At first, I just agreed to write about my dad because she said it helped her when she wrote about him. And less so that I thought his passing was why I came to prison.
But the more I think about it, and the more I talk about it, I realize how badly I handled my dad’s passing by running from those emotions. If you were in my life in 2007 and didn’t know my immediate family, you wouldn’t have even known my dad had died.
Just ask my buddy, Sam. He confronted me a couple of years after my dad’s death that I didn’t even tell him when it happened.
I’m, guessing he questioned the extent of our friendship because of it. I thought I could figure it out on my own, just like so many other life choices that I ultimately failed.
I thought crying in front of people or asking for help was a sign of weakness. I didn’t realize how scared I was.
I still finished college 14 months after my dad died because I knew that’s what he would have wanted. But over those months, I had only continued to spiral further out of control regarding mental health because I wasn’t taking care of myself.
I am sitting in prison 12 years later, finally learning how to talk about those feelings and address my mental health. I am sharing how I feel with people in the group, guys in my room, my family on the phone, and of course, with you guys through my weekly letters.
The other day, a guy said to me, “who would have thought I would come to prison and learn how to share my emotions.” And I don’t think I heard a statement all week that I could relate more to than that one.
I often wonder what life would have been like if I had handled this problem differently. Would I have still made the same mistakes?
Would I be where I am today?
I need to have a little faith and believe that I am right where I need to be today. Life can work in mysterious ways.
So if you’ve experienced the death of someone you love, I encourage you to talk or write about it despite how many days, months, or years it’s been, whether that’s yourself, family, friends, or even a stranger because that’s where the natural healing begins despite if the pain never entirely goes away.
And it’s ok to cry too.