The other night I was numbing out and turned on a sitcom. There is something about John Goodman that has always felt familiar. My dad has similar features and a similar disposition as Goodman’s characters. While I sat there I felt a great wave of sadness rise, I miss my dad. I have not seen him in a number of years and to preserve my freedom and emotional well being I burned a bridge. I sat with that sadness for a couple of days, allowing it to be rather than shove it back down. I realize what I was feeling was grief, not for what I had lost but for what I had never had and will never get. I was grieving for a dad who loved me for who I was, who was proud of me and would cheer me on in whatever my pursuits where. I was grieving for a dad who could freely share his emotions rather than drown them in a beer. I was grieving for a dad who created a soft place for me to fall rather than “getting me ready for the real world”. A few more days have passed and that sadness has not abated, it still lingers and I am alright with that. This is a gift that I am giving myself. For years I have been in denial, making excuses. Now I am allowing myself to feel the feelings of loss and grief. He is the first man I ever loved, he was also the first man to push me aside, to reject me for not being what he needed me to be. It is time for me to let go of that, to allow myself to make peace with the fact that it is not my responsibility to make him feel loved or valued or to feel good enough. He is on his own journey and I can only heal myself. Only I can love myself into being, not him. So tonight I will write him a letter letting him know how much I love him, how grateful I am for all he did for our family and for what he taught me. I will tell him I am sorry for things I have said, for past actions and for not being who he needed me to be and then I will burn it and send it off to the cosmos for healing. Someday I might be ready to actually send the letter to him but for now I will release it and free myself. As the sadness and grief fade, and I trust they will, I will allow myself to fully feel the love I have for this man. I have not allowed myself that for a very long time out of fear, now I am ready to allow that love and to allow myself to accept that he has always done the best that he could do. I will allow myself to remember, to laugh, to cry and to love again. I only hurt myself by expecting anything other that what is.