I was 10 when my dad was killed.
My mom came running into my room, frantic that my dad hadn’t woken me up for school. She and I had both overslept. My dad hadn’t come home from his early morning walk with our dog. My mom and I sat at the living room window, waiting, until the police finally showed up.
My dad and our dog had been crossing the street. A woman stopped to let them cross. But that young guy in his dad’s car, he was driving way too fast. He didn’t see our dog step out, and he didn’t see my dad at the other end of the leash.
I learned about loss that day. And soon after, once the shock wore off, I learned about hate. I became obsessed with vengeance.
That guy was doing twice the speed limit. Had a long list of driving offenses. But he got off. The judge felt sorry for him. His friends gave him high fives in the courtroom in front of my grieving mother.
I wasn’t there, but I already knew rage.
Over the next several years, I processed my dad’s death in my own way. I shut everyone out. I didn’t talk about it. I didn’t cry in front of anyone. I held onto it until I was alone at night in my room. That’s the only time I cried. The rest of the time I stayed strong for my mom. I didn’t want her to hurt anymore than she was already hurting, so I didn’t let her know that I was hurting too.
And I definitely didn’t tell her about the hate.
I was so numb, it seemed so surreal. I knew I needed to stay sharp and focused, to be strong enough to care for my mom, so I needed to toughen up. Like a warrior in training. Like a fighter. So I started doing this thing, to make it seem real. To shake off my fog.
I imagined everything that happened to him that day. In horrific detail. The walk. The speeding car. His hand trapped in the loop of the leash. Our dog flung onto my friend’s front lawn. How my dog’s body looked. How my dad looked. The scene as it would have looked from my elementary school, a short distance away. My grade 5 teacher crying as he told the class why I wasn’t there that day.
All of it. I imagined all of it. And I imagined it over and over and over again until that surreal fog lifted and it all became real.
You can listen to the whole story in my latest podcast episode. You can listen to it here, as well as wherever you prefer to listen to your favourite podcasts. You can find links to all the major directories on this page here.
Show Notes for Episode 7
Is the desire for vengeance about honour, or does it speak far more to ego? Join me in my latest episode as I share my story of loss and my consequent obsession with vengeance. And of how that drive for revenge transformed over time, and surprisingly led to my healing.
Here’s the link to the article mentioned in this episode:
Clapton, N & Hiskey, S. “Radically Embodied Compassion: The Potential Role of Traditional Martial Arts in Compassion Cultivation.” https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.555156/full
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