When I was little, you could not separate me from my father. To say that I was daddy’s little girl is an understatement. Wherever he went, I followed. As soon as he got home from work, I was on his lap bugging him to let me try a sip of his beer. I used to stand on top of his feet and we’d dance around the dining room.
When I was eight, he died of a heart attack. I remember coming home and being told by the priest that my dad had followed Christ’s path to heaven. At the time, I had no idea what that meant or how it would affect every day of my life from then on.
Sometimes tragedy brings families together. In our case, the grief isolated us. We rarely spoke of him. My sisters and I felt that talking about him would make our mother sad and I can only assume she felt the same. We each retreated into our own private silos and tried to get through life the best we could.
Out of the need to protect myself from any further grief, I developed emotional defenses. I never let anyone touch me too deeply. Although I had a lot of friends, I was never able to open my heart to a true relationship.
In December 2001, I met a man. We dated for awhile. I enjoyed being with him more than anyone else in my life. I was in love with him but it was a love that was guarded by a strong protective coating.
Then one night in January 2005, I was awoken from sleep by the sounds of him having a seizure. I immediately called 911 and began crying into the phone. The operator instructed me to turn him onto his side. She said that otherwise he might bite his tongue and choke on the blood. The ambulance came within minutes and we spent the next five hours in the emergency room. Over the next week, he had a battery of tests to determine if the seizure was caused by epilepsy, a brain tumor, cancer, etcetera. The doctors were never able to find a cause. Ultimately, we attributed it to the allergy medicine he had been taking that contained pseudoephedrine.
After that night, I would barely let him out of my sight. We each went to work separately but I wouldn’t let him sleep by himself. I would wake up several times a night to make sure that he was okay. Over time, I began feeling an attachment that I could not overcome with all my practiced defenses. Sometimes, I became so overwhelmed by the love I felt for him that I wondered if I could even live without him. Shortly thereafter, he proposed and we were married this past February.
Now the love I feel for him permeates all of my relationships and I truly believe that I have been freed from my defenses by love.
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