My father died when I was 14. It was the biggest calamity in my life. He died in the arms of his mistress while supposedly on vacation with the "guys" in New Jersey.
He was an angry though not a physically violent man, reserving his violence to the emotional variety of being cold, critical, and extremely conventional in many ways, such as his idea of what "manliness" was. He equated manhood with being a warrior, physically strong, athletic, not with being a boy, sensitive, wanting closeness.
He and my mom argued a lot, and she even wrote a letter asking if he wanted a divorce on the day after he left on his "vacation." He died of a massive heart attack a day or two later at the age of 38. To this day, 59 years later, my mom still feels the sting of his infidelity and talks about it often to me.
Why I am telling you this, is that today I felt what it was like being around him once again, waiting for his cutting sarcasm and put downs, or just feeling the menace of his silent and cold presence. I felt weak inside with a little sickness in my gut, and trembling throughout my body.These feelings and images came unannounced,without apparent trigger, while sitting and watching the news.
I felt today small and frightened, but feeling these feelings was like a tremendous victory, for feeling that weakness, fear, sickness and trembling and images of him, brought those long-buried feelings and images to the surface to be fully experienced and re-owned, and I realized that though the feelings were normally out of the range of my conscious awareness, in retrospect they were always present in my body, lived by my body and undermining the integrity of my heart.