Fearless Files: It's okay to be vulnerable

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

As I have mentioned on this blog previously, my dad's death two years ago has had a tremendous impact on my life. Two years may sound like a long time to some but for me, it feels like it happened yesterday. And I don't know when that will change. All I know is that the pain is still there, as deep and severe as it was two years ago.

Everyone grieves differently and some don't know how this grief feels like. Losing a parent is something that cannot be explained. Even if you had a terrible relationship with your parent, when they die, you feel some kind of way because at the end of the day, they are still your parent and responsible for you being in this world. You may feel hate or anger but you still feel the loss.

The one thing I have learned from my grief and how it has intertwined with my life is that showing vulnerability is okay. As a friend and loved one, when you are there for someone in their worst moments when they are stripped bare, showing raw emotion and at their most vulnerable, that is a sign of true friendship and love.

It's tough because you don't know the right thing to say, especially if you have not lost a parent. But honestly, the right thing to say is "I don't know what to say but I will walk with you through this pain. I'm here." And just show up. That's it.

I have lost a few friends in the last two years because they didn't know how to be there for me and didn't want to push aside their own happiness to deal with me in my worst moments. And that's okay because we are all human and flawed. It happens.

But for me, learning how to be vulnerable and show that vulnerability has been such a big thing for me. When you're vulnerable, your heart is open and receptive to receiving the love coming your way. You don't have a wall up. And you are at your most genuine, authentic state. Living fearlessly is all about living with your heart open and not being afraid of the outcome and putting your heart out there.

This works with loss in your life, too. Sometimes grief can be so overwhelming that it makes you angry and lash out at everyone. Been there, done that. Grief can make you resentful of others still having their parents alive or being happy when you feel like you want to scream. But when you push through the anger and allow someone to hold your hand or just sit next to you as you cry, it does something for your soul that I cannot explain. All I know is you feel free.

I am lucky enough to have friends and family who have been there for me. But the most surprising thing came from a friend who I never thought of as vulnerable or someone who does emotions. Yet, the last two New Year's Eves, he sat on the phone with me all night as I sobbed over missing my dad and feeling like as each year ends, I am leaving him behind. And all this friend did was listen and then tell me that my dad is always with me among other comforting things.

And this friend, we will call him B, his parents are still alive so he has no idea of how my grief feels. But he knew the right things to say by just showing up. And he continues to be that one person that I reach out to immediately when I am having a moment. He doesn't tell me how to grieve or say things like "It's been two years. You should be over it already."

This past weekend, I had a moment where I felt that wave of grief hit me and I cried for hours, thinking of my dad and how I miss talking to him. I text B instead of calling him since I knew he was working and I proceeded to pour my heart out in my most vulnerable state, which became 5 text msgs long. This was his reply:

"I wish I had the magic words to make the pain disappear. Just know I'm here if you need me."

And just like that, he made me feel better. Just knowing he was there, even if he couldn't understand my pain, meant the world to me. He called me the next day and didn't mention anything until I did. He respects my grief and doesn't push, which also means so much. Sometimes you know someone loves you not by them telling you but how they treat you when you are in your worst state.

So I am embracing this vulnerability thing because honestly, it has made me deal with my grief better and it has made me see that I am not alone. That in itself is being fearless by dealing with my loss and learning to live with it, one day at a time. The pain will always be there but I am learning to accept that he's gone and that's what counts. Love you Daddy, always and forever. RIP 4/10/11.

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