During the Missing and Loss Retreat, I became aware of missing my dad. What a surprise this was! I have not ever been aware of missing my father, who died over 20 years ago.
For just a moment, imagine the space around me as an extension of my brain, and that images and memories, and other assorted information are held in that space around me. In the retreat, I came to realize that there are actually places where I feel loss. When I think about them I feel sad, have tears, or I might get angry if someone steps too roughly in those places where I feel vulnerable. In space work, we explore these spaces around us, within us.
So, in the Loss and Missing Retreat, I realized that there are places that I miss my dad. And not only that, I have filled them with other things so that I do not have to feel these spaces. Sometimes I numb with food, or being on my computer, but I had never thought of my many unfinished and unattended projects this way. And yet that is what showed up!
The way it happened was in working with someone, coming in and out of relationship, which is how we work in space work. As my partner moved into relationship with me, the instruction was that she 'check in with me the way my father did'. Prior to this, I was not aware of my father ever checking in with me. Yet in this moment, I was aware of so many different memories from my childhood related to him. They were not all what I thought of as pleasant, and certainly not what I thought of as a father checking in with his daughter.
For example, one memory that came flooding back was the way he use to lay across the foot of the bed I shared with my sister, and sang Tura Lura Lura, or My Wild Irish Rose or other Irish songs after we got into bed at night. As a child, I was more concerned with how my feet were getting smooshed, and as an adult I had felt my irritation that he had been drunk when he did this.
But, I have been doing space work long enough to know that what shows up as we move through these spaces, slowly and consciously, has a deep truth. So when those memories of my dad showed up as my partner moved into my space, 'checking in with me the way my father did', I knew that whatever else I thought of him, these were some of the ways my father would check in with me.
Even more of a surprise were the tears that flowed as she moved out of that space. When she moved into that space, so slowly and consciously, I was able to feel what that space really is for me. And when she moved out, I was aware of what it was like to have it empty. I am not one to cry easily, yet the tears flowed freely. Each kind and gentle movement in brought new memories, and each slow and loving movement out brought new tears. And eventually, I was left with a deep peace, and a sweet, new and very tender appreciation for my dad.
I have not ever been aware of my dad checking in with me. Yet all along there has been an unconscious part of me that knew that I was missing him, and his way of loving me. Even though unaware, I have lived in this world with that love from my dad as a part of me. Deep knowing places around and within me have been informed by that love, and have been one of the resources I have depended on.I do not want to fill this space, not with projects or any other distractions. I want to honor this space, and allow the softness it offers me to be part of my new inner terrain. I want to update my world with this new understanding that my father, in his own Irish way, was checking in on me on a very regular basis.
Who am I now with this added understanding of this one who loved me, and who I had seen so differently?
Who am I willing to be as I move through my life, knowing I have been loved like this, and honoring it?
Who will I become as I honor my father, and his father before him, and back through the generations, my ancestors, those who have so brilliantly checked in on their children, even in our ignorance and judgement.
Thank You, Dad!