When I received the call in late October 2017 that my father had fallen and was in the hospital, I was thrust into a depth of intimacy with him that I’d been avoiding for nearly my whole life.
That was the day that we started facing some of the harsher and more painful realities of my father’s life… and it was the beginning of a long goodbye.
My relationship with my father has been the hardest relationship of my life.
After my parents divorced when I was 3, I alternated my weeks between my mother’s and father’s houses. When I was with my dad, I ached for my mom, and I often felt he was overwhelmed with the intensity of my pain (and his own) from the divorce.
He raised me in the ways he knew to – at times with humor and silliness, at times with aggression and harsh punishment, and often heavily loaded with his own stress.
As a result, I never fully grew out of my fear of my father and even as an adult, I found myself walking on eggshells in his presence.
Walking on eggshells implies that there’s no space for intimacy.
I assumed that my father would die before I could have the relationship I wanted with him.
In some ways that has proved to be true, and in other ways, our slow dance towards his death allowed for some of the deepest intimacy I’ve ever felt.
In these times when so many people are facing death in ways that lack the intimacy and connection we may long for, I offer a very personal story of a redemptive, beautiful, and intimate death – my father’s.
I share this with the belief that in times of crisis, we need more stories and experiences of connection, beauty, and joy… and, if this is a tender topic for you at this time, please feel free to forego this episode.
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