My dad died two days after my son’s birthday. This week is always punctuated by high- highs, and low-lows. Births and deaths, the circle of life in full display beating to the rhythm of my heart. This week felt especially transformational, my son turned 18, and my dad’s death hit the 6-year mark.
My dearest friend’s dad was also passing this week. I woke up in the dark this morning, kicked out of my house for my son’s birthday party, and couldn’t go back to sleep. I could just feel my friend’s dad had passed. Upon opening my phone, it was confirmed.
Another daughter without a living father was created in that instant he took his last breath.
I know the feeling all too well. My dad passed away at 63. Way too young to die, I still have a hard time coming to terms with his sudden departure from this earth plane.
You think you have all the time in the world with the people you love, but this is a construct we make up. The hard truth is we don’t when any of our time here will end.
My friend wrote a beautiful tribute to her father. He showed his love not through affection, but through sacrifice for his kids. He sent his family from Hong Kong to Canada so his kids could learn English and have the best education possible. He worried that they would be mad at this choice of growing up not seeing him often. Instead, his daughter wrote to me today acknowledging that this was the best choice he could have given them. That her life, her friendships, and her new company would not be here today had he not made that decision ages ago.
As a parent, what more do you want than for your kids to not only acknowledge the hard decisions you have to make as a parent but to actually admire you for them.
My parents made similar sacrifices. My dad showed his love in the opposite way, an overly affectionate man he never missed a chance to love on us. He did not grow up learning this, but nevertheless, learn it he did. My youngest sister had a terminal illness and my parents, who were broke hippies at the time, kept her with us until she died.
I only have one healthy, beautiful, thriving son, and parenting can be so challenging. I can’t imagine having 3 kids, one of which is dying, and yet remain open to love, to vulnerability, and to laughter as my dad did.
My dad was a lover of life. He was quick to make mistakes, and even quicker to apologize, to laugh at himself, and to pivot back to love. When I think of the greatest life lesson he taught me, it was just that. To feel what you need to feel, but then remember your lightness of being, and pivot back to love.
Love is what binds us together, it teaches us how to be the best we can be. Love is what ties us together even when our physical bodies depart.
Two daughters today, both missing their fathers. Two dads who could not have been different, but who both taught us what it means to love deeply, to give of yourself fully, and who will always remain a deep part of who we are.
The sadness of missing my dad will never go away. But the love we shared will also never go away. It is part of who I am, it is part of who he was, and it will continue into the future through the love I now share with my son and those others in my life who benefit from what he taught me.
For all those people grieving, my only advice is to remember the love. It is the one constant that remains, a force that exists outside of time. It is there waiting for you whenever you need it. Just call it forth.
Previously published on medium
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Photo credit: Alethea