One of Whiro's manifestations is through disease, infection and illness and apart from my face being the United States of Pimple during puberty and chickenpox when I was little (FYI why I have a hole on my forehead, c-pox scar), he didn't feature much in my life. Not in a physical form anyway.
My relationship with this atua (god) has most intimately been all in my head. Here's one of the stories I told myself that encouraged Whiro to pull up a chair and spend some quality time with me.
“I felt abandoned when my pāpā passed away..
How dare he do that to me, he was supposed to be there for me, he was meant to teach my kids how to drive and cook fried rice and how to blame their farts on the cat. He was meant to do and be a lot of things, but he left.
So if the person I cared most about in this world abandoned me - what's the point?
What's the point of living?”
In a 'will I ever be excited to wake up again' kind of way. Will I know happiness in this new reality without my dad in it? My mind was ruminating* on these types of stories over and over, and over again. They were becoming more and more real.
Was the story I was telling myself true? To an extent, yes. Losing someone you love to Hinenuitepō (goddess of death) is painful in no way I can put into words. But I had focused so much on what pāpā wouldn't be here for, the pressure of these expectations was eating me up inside and killing my vitality and zest for life.
Not only did Whiro pull up a chair, he had completely taken over and darkness was all I knew. Whiro became a companion through this despair. It wasn't a state I enjoyed too much and after resisting this new truth and getting hung up on my unmet expectations for so long, I decided to accept it. I accepted that mine and my family's lives wouldn't feature my dad anymore (physically). I let Whiro and I let the darkness go.
Then, the strangest thing happened. I was free.
I accepted that my father passing away had happened. I let go of what should have been, appreciated what was, which made room for excitement about what could be. I still get sad sometimes (like when I wrote this), but it doesn't have the same power as it once did.
The story I was telling myself had changed. I could now think of how grateful I was for the times my dad was there for me and for what he had taught me throughout the years. I could cry happy tears reminiscing about the times he got in trouble from my mum, covering for me. I could tell a better story about my dad, about myself.
As I let Whiro and darkness go, they took the hurt with them which made room for healing and life to flourish once more. And although it was an extremely uncomfortable and dark time in my life, I learned so much about myself by engaging with Whiro in this space that I probably wouldn't have learned elsewhere.
One thing I learned is that we must let go of the things, the people, the experiences that foster negativity in our lives. But the only way to let go of something is to have it in the first place....
So feel the pain, feel angry, feel upset and think the world sucks.. then let it go. Feel Whiro's presence, understand why he's here, then send him on his way.
When I look back on this phase, I get a little disappointed in myself for thinking that way and how disappointed my dad, let alone my whānau (family) and friends would be as well. Especially if those thoughts materialised into something. The stories we tell ourselves in our mind are powerful, so be understanding of yourself and others. You never know what presence Whiro has in some peoples lives, and I can guarantee some people close to me will be in shock from reading this (if they read it lol). So be kind, be patient, be understanding, be love.
*Rumination: think deeply about something. Pretty flash aye? I thought so anyway when I came across it in an article a while back and have been wanting to include it in a post ever since... thought I'd share that nugget with ya #celebratethelittlethings