31 years ago the unimaginable happened.
It was a Saturday morning. I headed out to do some shopping, shouting a brief ‘bye’ to my parents who were upstairs as I left.
I didn’t realise that I would never speak to my Dad again. Later that day he went off to see his team, Bradford City, receive the Football League Third Division Trophy. And he never came home. That day was the 11th May 1985.
So how do you cope when your world comes crashing in? When your life changes in an instant? When you’re faced with your worst feelings and emotions?
As a family we supported one another. We each experienced the tragedy in our own way – none the same. And we didn’t really talk about it.
To help me cope, I developed a mantra based on my belief that we should always look for the positive in all situations. My mantra was: ‘at least I only lost one member of my family’.
I realise now that this mantra was, in effect, the closed door between me and a ‘crowd of sorrows’. I was subconsciously telling myself that I had no right to feel those emotions bubbling away inside of me. For 25 years, I turned them away and didn’t move on.
So when I finally did allow myself to acknowledge and accept my feelings,
some real healing took place.
I remember telling myself it was OK to accept that not only was 11th May 1985 a terrible day for lots of people in Bradford and beyond, it was also a terrible day for me personally.
This thing that had happened was horrific, tragic and devastating.
I recall being surprised at the resulting feelings. Yes, I felt the grief, loneliness, pain, anger etc. And yes I cried….. lots.
But I also felt free and light, as though something had shifted
If only I’d realised sooner what I needed to do to be able to regain my sense of inner peace and move on. What a difference. I felt whole again. The internal conflict was gone.
The run up to the anniversary this year has been unusually emotional for me. I realise that this is because of my human need to make sense of life, recognising that I’m now older than my dad was when he died.
Using the techniques and life lessons I’ve learned about accepting emotions and feelings, I’m just going with it.
I know that dwelling on the feelings is not good and neither is suppressing them.
Rumi’s poem really resonates with me. So rather than closing the door when an ‘unsavoury guest’ appears, I welcome all feelings as my honoured guests. I invite them in and am grateful for what they teach me.
Do you welcome and accept all of your feelings as though they are your honoured guests?
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Special thanks and acknowledgement to Robert Dilts and Ian McDermott