When I was in the ‘still–dominated–by–the–abuse–Land’ or in ‘mental illness–Land’, the thing I missed the most was that place of acceptance where I could relax. That place of welcoming. Of enjoyment. Of delight. The happy feast. I grew up with this image of a long table with a happy family eating in France with the windows open to a beautiful garden, or outdoors surrounded by the beauty of the countryside and the warm friendship and the laughter.
When you want that, and you can’t have that and you’ve known it somehow, or it has been taken away from you, it’s very hard to live without it…The proximity, the acceptance. When you’re hurting and there’s that need in your heart for love (love is what were going to call this), then even smaller versions of that connection are welcome, very appreciated and can put us in touch with that deep down acceptance. Then, we get that hope, that it’s still possible.
For months I did not feel that with my son Josh. But he wasn’t living in my house, so that made it harder, and when he came over, he would often have already had a few drinks. The pain was so overwhelming to him he needed to numb it, or go beyond it, sort of put it on the back burner and just have fun being crazy all the while yearning for love.
Most often though, with me, he was pretty serious. He talked, ranted, joked, shared anger, sadness, frustration, and I listened to him. We had both shared the same pain with the same woman – his mother, my ex-wife – for way more years than was ‘emotionally advisable’. So he knew we had the same pain, and that we were both working through that, and somehow he felt very accepted by me, all the while still feeling pretty messed up.