Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Death and Lessons Learned

My father passed away on Monday. He was very ill before his death. Though I knew he'd be better served resting in peace it was still hard to say goodbye. I wasn't close to my father, but I loved him. While I watched him deteriorate during his few last days on earth, I was hit hard by some of life's obvious, but often overlooked lessons...

1. Life is too short, so do what you love. This has to do with every aspect of love. Don't settle in love whether that's with yourself, another person or your career. Love everything, always. At the end of your life it's better to have known love in all things instead of regret.

2. Forgiveness is never about the other person. My father was absent much of my life, but it serves me none to dwell on what he wasn't. Too many sit and lament what has come and gone or what could have been. I've forgiven my father for his chronic mistakes, and in doing so, I get to love myself (and him) even more.

3. Don't Hold Back. All too often we play it safe. My father did what he wanted, when he wanted. He couldn't be tamed. Good or bad, he was his own person. His passing reminds me to be relentless too. I should go after what makes me happy, say what has to be said and always be my authentic self even if it isn't for everyone.

4. Settle Down. My father was always in a rush, always. He just wasn't comfortable moving at a mellow pace. He decided everyone's pace and mood by just one glance or an immediate and dramatic end to all things fun or "slow". He was often unsettled. His death had the opposing effect on me. Life's too beautiful to rush through it and forget what matters most: our relationships, health and happiness. 

5.  Keep Getting Better. We can all serve to get better. There's room for growth in all areas of life. For me, as I watched my father inch closer to his personal finishline I couldn't help but think about me... as a person, a mother, wife and friend. Watching his time expire made me want to do everything in my power to be a better version of me before my clock expires, too.

What are the lessons you've learned from life's most difficult moments?

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