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.

1449876854910
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.

 

 

The Courage to Feel

12193725_10153109446782539_7191528142289883211_nMy mind tells me I didn’t know him long enough to be sad, but my heart knows better. Of my grandfather’s 91 years, I knew him only 8. But, I am grateful for the moments we shared.


I think it was 2007 when I first met Papa John, right before I started college. There he stood, all 6 feet something of him; towering in stature and strong in personality. Though his eyesight was steadily fading, he’d always rise to greet me, grab hold to my hands or pat me on my back. He knew who I was and that’s all that mattered.

Papa John told me stories about how he used to work with my mother. He called her his “girlfriend.” 🙂 Putting a roof on every building in Hickory was his claim to fame. If anyone could do that, I know John Henry King could. Much like my father, I never knew much about my grandfather, and didn’t have the opportunity to grow up with him and my paternal family over the years. I have a handful of captured memories and exchanged conversations that I cling to. 1030151744-1

As I slept in his old bedroom the past few days, I wondered if there were any keepsakes in there to remember him by. I somewhat longed to feel his presence in the room.


When it came time for the homegoing service, I wanted sunglasses to hide the tears. I don’t think anyone likes feeling/being vulnerable, especially during the sickness/loss of a loved one. There is an inevitable feeling of sympathy from others. Everyone wants to know how you feel, how you’re doing and how you’re holding up. “I’m good.” “I’m doing okay.” “As well as can be expected.” At some point, the very mention or thought of that loved one’s name chokes you up. On the brink of tears I still mutter, “I’m fine.”

FB_IMG_1446342721250Texting my mother before the funeral, she told me I “didn’t have to hide.” Having to sit right next to the casket with the flower girls, I was forced to feel. In that tiny church, I had a front row seat to sadness. As sister, daughter, son, grandchild, niece, nephew and friend filed in the sanctuary and laid eyes, hands and lips on Papa John for the last time, the grief overcame me. Ugly faced, whimpering and all, couldn’t be contained as the funeral director closed the casket. I cried. In a church full of people, mourners all around…I cried. I felt.

I thought of how my mother must have felt in that very church back in 1990, staring at my father’s closed casket; burned body inside.

I know Papa John is resting with Daddy, Grandma Marie and countless others who had gone on before him. He’s at peace. Body healed. Eyesight restored.

I may not know as much about him as everyone else, but I know that he loved. In few words, but in many actions…he loved. And he will always be loved. Forever and always.

I love you, Papa John. Rest in Paradise. 1031151522a-1