This week, on June 28th, marked 40 years since my father’s death. The date of his death is not usually the time I remember when thinking about my dad but Tuesday morning I went to my meditation mat, picked up my journal and recorded the date and it jumped out at me. When I realized that it was exactly 40 years ago and I was 16, I felt emotional about the length of time. The amount of time I spent with him was abbreviated, and yet nothing about our relationship now would indicate that I lost him when he died because he has enriched and guided me my whole life.
My father had faith in God, true faith. The kind of faith that allows fear a seat at the table as an informant, not as a guide. He was a minister and walked his life as a spiritual man. He felt God in nature, through birds, animals, flora, fauna and was moved to tears in beholding the stars and the moon.
My father treasured his family, and we knew it. His actions were intentional and conscious and no matter what the circumstances, you knew he was paying attention to you when he was with you.
He loved a good laugh and could be light hearted and yet had the ability to contemplate and reflect as few others I know can.
Daddy taught me about life, but he also taught me about death. My father had leukemia for most of my life, and yet he did not live his life as someone that was dying. He was active and happy and even in the face of the most difficult situations he believed in something greater than what showed up to try to threaten him. He had an intimate relationship with the present moment, and a keen ability to live in that moment no matter what appeared to distract him. I never felt scared when I was around him. His faith and commitment to living life in its fullest form allowed me to feel that strength too.
His death came fast, and when it did, he met it with the same respect and honoring that he met his life. I know that had he been frightened my brothers, sisters and I would have felt scared too, but that was not the case. We didn’t want to lose him, as you never want to lose someone you love so much but he taught us it was safe to let him go. He gave us the tools to love, believe and cherish our lives.
We are stronger for his life, love, and his legacy lives in us. I have come to understand, through my father’s example, that what matters most is the zest, truth, and compassion we give our life and that from that place we serve and help others live great lives too.
I have had many tears this week in thinking about my father but most of all I am filled with gratitude for having known his precious energy, I feel eternally blessed.