I never know how to handle grief, I’ve never been taught. The only thing I know about things that hurt, is to not feel them. I was stood in the queue at Starbucks in Manchester when my father called me. He could barely get his words out as he told me. It’s been a long time since I have heard my father cry, at least I think I have heard him, I am not really sure.
I realised as he was talking that I really felt nothing for his grief I detached. I was listening to his words, and my mouth was saying all the right things to him, but I had stepped out of myself. Each sentence that came from his mouth, my mind took it and pointed at his behaviour. When I asked how he was doing, he told me he felt sick and couldn’t believe it. Then he went on to tell me about my other brother and sister being upset by it all. His words were, ‘we are all in a state of shock about it, and we have been just sat all morning,”
I got clarity. I saw it right there. I am not a part of that family. He has never allowed me to be. I keep trying and keep getting the door slammed. Maybe it is natural to him to do that now. Perhaps he has made it natural for me too. I felt nothing for him. Not even pity, he had just lost a son, but he might as well have been a stranger telling me. Perhaps my emotions decided to take their own line of revenge on him. I remember when my daughter passed, she was still born and I understand that it is not the same, my father didn’t attend her funeral, because in his words, “what did it matter, she was never alive.” Those were the words that struck me this Saturday.
He’s grieving to the world for a son he had with another woman, a son he denied was his so many times. It leaves me somewhat torn I think. A battle within me, which side of me is going to win out. The man who just lost a brother or the son that feels anger towards his father.
I didn’t sleep so well on Saturday night, not because I was upset with my brothers passing, though I am, but because my mind was on the fact, would my father even tell me when the funeral is. Would he allow me to go? Would this be just another event when I am not allowed to be part of the family? When his own father passed away, I did not get told. He was dead and buried and I never heard a word about it.
Today I see clear.
To my brother. I wish we’d got around to that beer. I’m glad I knew you.