Feel It, to Heal It

“…he/she must attend directly to the wound, dig in it, open it up, clean out the dirt, perhaps the pus and infection, dead skin, etc.  So likewise, it’s the same emotionally. We can’t deny, avoid or neglect our hurt. Instead of running away from it, we have to go to the source of our pain and attend to the wound, then we will begin the process of healing. ” Uncle J

I love my Uncle J. Though time and circumstance keeps us physically apart, our bond keeps us near at heart. He’s my best friend.

I’m thankful for our correspondence and how he keeps it real with me. Growing up without my father, I will never have that all-important connection that I longed for, but I’m grateful for the ever-growing relationship I have with my uncle.

It can be easy to notice when someone else is carrying a heavy load or burden. They may seem tired, angry or anxious. But often times, it takes someone else to come forward and express concern about grief that YOU have been carrying.

I hadn’t realized that I’ve been grieving all these years. Grief is an emotional and sometimes physical response to loss. But, how can I miss something/someone I never had? It’s just that. I constantly grieve the absence of my Daddy, wasted time, and familial relationships whose seeds should have been planted years ago.

I have a bad habit of dwelling on lost/wasted time. My Uncle J reminds me that we can’t go back, but we can make the best of the time we have left.

Dear Me…

Uncle J encouraged me to do something I had never thought of, though I’ve always found writing to be very therapeutic.

“Little Courtney is still hurting…that precious little girl with the chubby cheeks. You know better than anyone else what she needs. Give it to her.”

My uncle told me about visual imagery and how it could help to heal my emotional wounds. He encouraged me to close my eyes, mentally go to a special place that I liked to play or pick muscadines, notice the sounds, sights and smells. Pick little Courtney up and talk to her.

I would tell her all the things I wished someone had told me growing up.

Uncle J also encouraged me to write a letter to my younger self. In his words, “she needs to hear what you have to say.”

I couldn’t agree more.

I haven’t sat down to do this exercise yet, but I will. Soon. I have no doubt in my mind that it will be tremendously beneficial to my emotional healing.

Open up. Let it all out.



Daddy-less Daughter: 25 Years

Wedding Day – Mama and Daddy

You would have been 53 years old today, Daddy. Happy Birthday! I’ve often imagined how we would celebrate if you were here with me. Maybe a scary movie and some pizza would suffice. If I like it, you’d love it, right? 🙂 I’ve always thought you would.

12042800_10153069572942539_3718012372768199909_nGrowing up without a father has undoubtedly had an affect on me and my life. I’m not like the women who claim nonchalance to the absence of a daddy or father figure. I needed him. I need him. I’ve never felt a real, genuine, consistently strong bond with any man in my life. Yes, I had a stepfather. Yes, I loved riding go carts and bikes, making mud pies and eating muscadines with my boy cousins. But, it wasn’t the same. It’s a void that may never be filled.

You took your last breath in that fiery car crash, when I was just 3 months old. I’m told you were on your way to see me, your one and only baby girl. I have no memories of you. No Polaroids of me with my chubby cheeks, arms and legs cradled in your arms. No snapshot of you struggling to change a poopy diaper. I am left with old photos of your high school days on the fields and courts of Alexander Central. I cherish the photos of you with my aunts and uncles.

I know very little about you, but I know you were well loved. As for me, I’m 26 now. It’s been 25 years without you. To say I don’t have any “daddy issues” would be a lie. I’m not out there begging for the attention of men twice my age, or clinging to any morsel of affection I can get. It’s quite the opposite. There’s both intrigue and discomfort. It’s hard for me to let people in. I avoid eye contact with men and always assume they’d never be interested in me or find me attractive. Wall upon wall surrounds my heart. No one has been brave enough, or close enough to break them down.

It is said that a girl’s first love is her father. That is the missing link. That impactful, necessary, poignant relationship never was, and never will be.

Thank you for loving my mother and big sister. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for life.

I love you, Daddy.

I hope you’re proud of me! I’m not where I want to be in life, but I’m gonna get there. I promise. Fathers, tell your daughters you love them. Tell them they’re beautiful. Hold their hands and keep them close. They need it.

Happy Birthday, Daddy. Rest in Paradise.

Love, your babygirl. ♥