It’s been a full year since Papa passed away.

I made a promise to carry his legacy on simply by trying to spread that love he gave me to the people around me. His love was overflowing, and even in his absence, it radiates even more fully when I need it the most. In snippets of random memories of his sweet gestures and timely words, I catch the glimpse of what was that gives me comfort in the present.

I have to admit that I haven’t kept this promise in its entirety, because I consciously choose to repress some resurfacing memories in fear that the grief will come at full force again. Traumatic experiences are kept at bay as the brain purposely tries to cushion the blow of reliving the painful memory and it’s because of this that I have been able to cope. But this is amnesia and it isn’t what I wanted and this numbness isn’t what he would want either. Being able to welcome these memories fully is a sign of acceptance and growth, and I just can’t seem to do it. It’s easier to allow myself monumental days such as today and his birthday to allow myself to grieve then bury it all up again so I can carry on as usual.

The seemingly easy way out is an illusion, grief suppressed is grief not addressed which can be expressed in sometimes ugly ways (like refusing to visit Mama because sometimes its too painful, sorry Papa for this).

Time heals but only with intention, and I don’t think I let this year pass with conscious healing because it just hit me so hard today. I guess the first step is acknowledging a memory even when it comes unannounced, to cry about it if I should in the moment instead of shutting it away and letting it out on special days. Second step is accepting he’s really gone and even though it hurts a lot to accept that I’ll never hug/hear/smell/kiss him again, I have to remember all the times I was blessed to. I never want to numb out the tremendous love he has shown me whether that was through phone calls or text messages or dinners out. I can’t avoid every restaurant we went to, I can’t simply erase the memories that hurt too much because that would be erasing him and that’s the last thing I want.

Dealing with pain the right way isn’t numbing it even though it’s the easier way out. Moving forward has been easy lately because I left him in the past but dealing with pain is acknowledging what’s lost with the steady determination to keep that love alive consciously — letting his love shine and grow in and through me.

Here’s to a better attempt at dealing with grief and heartache. Love you, Papa!

A place for the thoughts I occasionally make some time for. (