Exploring Personal Grievance
I can still smell the new car scent of his Subaru, the tickle of his mustache and hear the echo of his laughter. My uncle Tommy died November 10th 1994 and I still carry a heavy heart from his death even though I was barely 10yrs old. I look back on that humid, Maine summer day that I sat on his suitcase and wrapped him in all my child sized arms could grasp, unknowingly hugging him for the last time.
Being the youngest of 6 girls, I was the precocious, animated and sometimes accident prone “son my dad never had” tom boy. I loved being the goofball that could diffuse a tense situation with the wit of an adult far beyond my years. I was overtly aware of my uncle’s battle with the disease that cost him is luscious brown hair, turned his French-Canadian dark skin to a yellower shade of yellow. And I understood why this once jovial, vivacious man was angry, weak and short tempered. What I could not understand was why he never told me the truth about his “trip to Ohio” and why he didn’t think I could handle knowing that I would never see him again after that fateful day in July.
His death dissected my childhood and reshapedmy adulthood. He has been gone half of my life and yet I still feel as though I am eternally grieving because I was not afforded the closure I so craved. For years and many grief counseling sessions I contemplated why I felt such anger and depression over his passing. I realized that I in order to effectively grieve the loss of a parental figure in my life, I needed to develop the coping skills I was never taught as a child. My parents were subject of generations of trauma and ineffective coping skills for which cycled through their off spring. I was never taught how to deal with emotion and actually feel the numerous degrees of emotion that go along with the grieving process. I was raised that we can get medication to make those feelings go away. When all I wanted was a soft place to heal and grieve the loss of...