With Father’s Day celebrations upon us, I thought it might be helpful and meaningful to people out there who have lost a Dad, to offer some suggestions…about how to continue with and or deal with feelings you may still have for him.
My own Father (Mike, or Mircea in Romanian) died in Sept 1992. Every year on the anniversary of his death I go to the Royal Botanical Gardens (RGB); he loved this place. When I was a kid he had a Honda Trail Motorcycle named Susie (my Dad liked to name things, including his motorcycle). Before the RGB was beautifully built up and organized into sculptured gardens to the extent that exists today, he and I would pack a lunch and “ride“ the motorcycle up, down and through the bush and trails that is now the RGB. On the anniversary of his passing, I take a drink and snack that I know were his favorites like root beer and cheesies and sit in a quiet spot at the RGB and think about Mike. On his birth date each year on June 22 we, as a family, have a dinner (once again the menu to include all of Mike’s favorites) and over dessert recall some of the crazy, happy, and annoying things that we each still recall about Mike.
Additionally, I have an old battered leather suitcase that Mike brought with him when he landed by boat in Halifax as an immigrant from Romania in 1953. Inside are his treasures, like original citizen papers, all his documentation from Romania, a series of older and newer photos of Mike, his parents, other family members, and a chessboard he made from scratch (the first chess set he taught me on). There are a variety of other items too and as soon as I see or touch them, I think of Mike. I sense either monthly or every couple of months something calling me to go to this suitcase that I keep in my closet and take it out. Sometimes I pour a root beer or have a piece of a Turkish delight chocolate bar (another Mike favorite) and just sit, think, and remember about everything that was Mike.
Over the years I have shared these personal activities with clients who are struggling with feelings (good and bad) about their Dad (or Mom or any significant someone). The feedback I have received has been amazing. People often tell me, “Saveta, I don’t want to let go of my Dad,” or “I don’t know if that makes sense Saveta but I want to keep him close.” My response, in my professional opinion is, keeping his memory close is healthy and wonderful and I truly believe that they “know” what we are up to from the other side. In addition, I believe the deceased appreciate and love these kind of remembrances and attention.
Think of it for a moment. Every single major religion emphasizes a remembrance and reverence for the dead. Why? Because as we all learned in high school, Grade 10 Physics, that energy cannot be created or destroyed. When anyone, Dad, or whomever dies, the body leaves this plane of existence (of the living) and moves forward to the next plane of existence (of the dead) until their work/time here is finished and it is time for them to move onto the next life. Yes! I do believe in reincarnation. For those out there that may feel comfortable, perhaps consider creating a place of honor for Dad or that significant other.
An honoring ritual can be something as simple as a file on your computer of photos that you take time to view and visit with thoughtfulness. Or, like a client of mine who bought one of those unfinished wooden boxes from a craft store, (because her own Dad died before her two sons were born) chose to create a Remembrance Box. She did this after hearing my message of how important meaningful remembrances of the dead are, for their energetic benefit as well as those of the living left behind. She made up this box with items that said “Dad” to her. Like old fishing tackle pieces, a picture of him as a young man during a brief stint on a semi-professional hockey team from Quebec, a set of old reading glasses, and a key fob he brought back from a once in a lifetime trip to Alaska the year he retired; you get the idea. In this lady’s words, “Saveta, my sons are 5 and 7 years of age and they love this box. The Grampa Box is what they call it and when other kids talk about their Grandfathers (living or dead) my kids don’t feel left out. They pipe in about Grandpa’s skill as a hockey player (which is of course where my oldest son gets his current hockey savvy from), to his amazing trip to Alaska.” “Saveta, it is so cool how the kids seem to love the idea that because he is talked about with such respect, he is still somehow here for them.”
What I think is so healthy about this approach, is for you to take the “stuff” out and then put the “stuff” (the energy) of that person away, respectfully.
I don’t feel that keeping closets, shelves, or rooms packed with deceased people’s stuff is respectful or special and does not constitute cherished remembering.
In my books, selecting and keeping (in one area or one spot) special items that really speak to you energetically of that person, serves to stabilize and strengthen energies on both sides for the living and deceased. This way, I believe, their energy and our energy get a break from constantly being stimulated (this will happen unconsciously) from items that are constantly present which become a drain on your energy and on the energy of the entire household.
By setting up things, as previously mentioned, it becomes a wonderful “ritual” of respect and meaningful recollection. In addition, I have witnessed with numerous clients over the years that these types of activities assist positively with the grieving process and process of reorganizing what your “new” relationship energetically needs to become with the deceased.
By this I mean that their energy (their connection to us is still in existence) but from a different and at a different level of existence. In my professional opinion, this is a wonderfully safe, energetically clean, and wholesome way to continue that very important relationship in a way that is ongoing and enriching.
Additionally, I wish to take time to address the other end of the spectrum. What about the case where that deceased Dad, or significant person was abusive, hurtful, humiliating, neglectful, and otherwise did not do anything close to a decent job of being a Dad or significant someone? My advice is to find a couple of hours where you are guaranteed not to be disturbed, assemble some writing materials, red ink or black paper perhaps. Please choose items that are going to help make the flow of writing happen for you. Maybe light a candle (not black coloured candles). Consider candles that are white (purifying), blue (peacefulness), green (healing), etc. Put on some music and start to write the letter of a lifetime. Please begin clearly and honestly, with the first words being from as deep as within you as can come.
“You miserable #$@*, son of a *&?”#, I am writing this letter because I have a lot to say about you and a lot to get out and I want anything negative associated to your energy gone from my energy and the energy of those I love and care, once and for all.
I am sure dear readers, that you get my drift. Do not worry about grammar. Swearing like a sailor, repeating yourself, recollections and details of conversations from years gone by, the key is to get all the poison, energetically and emotionally out of you! Write until you can’t write any more. Then put all the pages away for a couple of days. When you take them back out and re-read everything, add anything else you wish to. Then gather up all the pages and toss them into a fireplace, or barbeque pit; burn everything to ashes. Then gather all the ashes up and put them somewhere “POSITIVE.” Toss them in the compost pile, or spread them in a personal or community garden, or toss them into a stream; return them to the Earth.
Be prepared because over the years when I have guided people to do this intense writing and release, the after affects have been powerful, but otherwise very healing and helpful.
One client, I recall, contacted me after he burned what he described as a stack of 40 plus sheets. He wrote, “I penned like a maniac Saveta, about everything my biological father had done to me. Saveta, I cried. Some of the pages where severely creased because I was gripping them so tightly just to be able to keep writing. After I burned them and dumped them in a compost pile, I went home and fell asleep on the couch. I was awakened by my son anxiously pounding on the front door. I apparently had slept into the next afternoon. My son had called to firm up plans for our upcoming camping trip and became so concerned when I had not answered the phone for an entire day. Saveta, I have never slept like that before and I have never, to my knowledge, slept through a phone call. When I continued with my day I felt totally different inside. Lighter. Brighter than I have felt for many years.”
This was a wonderful example of a powerful and profound release of unwanted paternal energy. For those of you out there feeling like a paternal shadow might still be weighing on you, please consider this very safe and healthy form of release.
Finally, for those of you who are adopted and do not or have never been able to know your biological father or significant someone, know that you can still create something helpful. For example, if all you have is a name, research the name.
What is the meaning? History of the name Robert? Clive? Umberto? Smyth, Jones, etc. Tuck away that information into a computer file or a book and visit it when you feel the calling. The Mormon Church of North American, for example, has one of the most amazing genealogical archives that are publicly accessible. You do not have to be Mormon to access it. Local libraries typically have public access databases and they can show you how to use and easily to access genealogical information from a variety of sources.
Over the years, a number of clients who have had almost nothing connecting them to a dad or a significant other that they wished to know, shared how they found accessing these types of resources meaningful and reassuring.
Kindly accept this blog effort as my small way to help make Father’s Day this year, energetically peaceful and empowered for you.