Today marks a special day for me and my family. On this day, August 20, 2009, I was a very pregnant woman on her due date. I was also a daughter who was about to lose her father after a relatively short yet intense battle with cancer.
Our story of a family going through the daily challenges of watching a loved one first become very ill, and then eventually pass away is not unique. So many, many people will endure this difficult process. Yet, there is so much to be learned from it…so much of our experiences that we can share and learn from one another. In the face of adversity our strength, our endurance, our spirit are tested. Decisions that need to be made over a person’s health and well-being, and also their eventual passing, are ones that no one can ever sufficiently prepare you for and will challenge your core values like nothing else.
There are many things that are said to one another over the course of a lifetime. There are many ups and downs that we as a family have weathered together. Storms of mistrust, separation, financial distress. And then there are the rainbows and pots of gold that come like a gift from the heavens: birth and prosperity and renewal of vows, renewal of love, renewal of spirit. All things are not black or white. Perspectives change, we grow, we unite, and we learn to care…once again.
Our family happens to be very close despite all our differences and so a lot has been shared over the years…it is surprising how life circumstances can bring a family together in ways they never thought possible. My father became closer to us in his last few years knowing that this was the only chance he would get to impart his vast knowledge to us, to share his beliefs, and to show us time and time again how much he really cared. I miss him now but am comforted by the thoughtful words, the warm embraces, and the daily expressions of love and hope we were able to exchange with one another. Love is so very healing.
These small yet beautiful exchanges are possible if we can really accept that the present is all we really have and learn to let go. Let go of past dreams that no longer live up to our present dreams. Let go of painful experiences and hurtful words that have no importance in the now. Let go of wants, needs, desires. Allow love to enter in all its beautiful ways and fill the void of emptiness and despair.
A wonderful blogger and former classmate, Leigh has this to share about letting go of the past in her August 19th post on Lost Causes
A part of me feels infused with the energy and spirit of my father today. I see him sometimes as a fluttering Monarch butterfly, light and free; a sweet singing songbird stopping by for a nibble of bird seed. I see him in the eyes of a passing stranger, older yet wiser. I see him in the eyes of my baby, whose smile and bright eyed innocence is so clear and strong and true. Our loved ones still exist for us in these daily happenings. I will savour these moments. They are my father’s presence in my every day.
With hope and love,