"The strangest thing happened," said my friend, a lovably neurotic, very obsessive businessman in his mid-forties.
"I was watching one of those afternoon TV talk shows. This one was about problem kids. A parent comes on. She talks about how out of control her child is. Then a parenting expert comes on. He does tough love with the kids, like a drill sergeant, screaming and getting in their faces. Then he takes the troubled kids for a week and straightens them out.
"So this nine-year-old boy comes on. He's been a monster. Killing animals in the neighborhood. Driving his mother nuts. The drill sergeant guy gets right up in this kid's face. He's screaming. 'You think you're tough? You're a tough guy?'
"The expert's screaming at the kid. The kid is just standing there. And I'm watching this thinking, 'Maybe this kid is just a bad seed.'
"'How'd you like me to come home with you for a week? Be in your face like this all the time,' the expert hollered. 'Would you like that?'
"'Yes,' the boy said.
"'What did you say? Yes? You'd like that? Why would you like that?'
"'Because I don't have a dad,'" the kid said. The boy's lip quivered. The expert got silent. The audience went nuts. But that's not the strange thing," my friend said. "Melody, I started crying. Sobbing like a baby. I haven't cried for ten years."
"What do you think that was about?" I asked.
"I realized how much I missed having a dad," he said. "When people asked me, I always said it wasn't important. I didn't know until I saw that show and started crying that you could miss something you never had."
Sometimes we don't know what or whom we're missing.
"How can I stop feeling so blue about being separated from my children?" another friend asked when business had taken him away from home for a month.
"You're asking the wrong person," I said. "It has been eleven years since my son died, and I still miss him every day."
Grief. It may strike suddenly, catching our heart by surprise. Or it may pound relentlessly and persistently for years, like ocean waves beating on the shore.
Whether we're conscious of what or whom we're missing, our heart knows. We may never be happy about our loss, but it is possible to be happy again.
Grief isn't an abnormal condition. It's nature's way of healing our heart.
You are reading from the book:
52 Weeks of Conscious Contact by Melody Beattie