I have made it known in previous posts that I have low self esteem and have decided to work on it. While doing so I often reflect on the reasons why it is the way it is… so fragile and weak. It was never any question that part of the reason my self esteem is and has been so low is because of my father and his abusive tendencies during my childhood. The fact that he was so abusive was something that I had a hard time processing as I have continued to heal. It was confusing because the abuse came from a place of mental illness and not from his character. As a child and young adolescent, that was nearly impossible to understand, but yet the process of trying to started when I was about 13.
It is safe to say that strides have been made in that aspect of healing. I went through times of pure hatred and anger, through times of sadness at the emotional loss of my father, and times of denial and telling myself that I was just given a bad father in this life. This was a process that was extremely difficult and, was at times, too much for someone my age to handle. It is a process that will be described in more posts to come.
Then, something happened that made this process all the more difficult. Less than a year ago, my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It was a rare strand that was not responding to treatment, and it was aggressive. I had not seen or talked to him in 5 years and was left with the decision of whether or not I should see him.
I eventually made the decision to see him. I spent multiple days with him leading up to his death. I was able to hold his hand, kiss his forehead and see him smile in a way that told me that I was not just saying goodbye to a mentally ill father, but a father that used to be my hero aswell. As painful as it was, I held my dad, laid with him and kissed his forehead as he died before my eyes. His last words to me were “I love you Livy”. He died on June 6th, 2017.
I am able to look at this experience as a gift. I am able to feel the excruciating pain in my heart and feel the tears well up in my eyes and say “what a miracle, what a gift it was, to say goodbye to him. What a feeling to finally be able to say that I forgive him”.
At age 20 I have overcome more obstacles than most people will in their entire lives. I used to be resentful of this. I used to say things like “can I just have a goddamn break” or “I can not handle much more”. But now I have an tremendous feeling of gratitude. It is exactly because of these experiences that I will be able to know peace and happiness at overwhelming lengths. Each flower is sweeter, each sunset more vibrant, each song more melodious.
Do not get me wrong though. I am UTTERLY EXHAUSTED, and all of this stress literally gave me an eating disorder, but… I really don’t think I would change a single thing.