It was a year ago this week my father passed away. Needless to say, last year was not the merriest of Christmases. But I’m not looking back to dredge up sadness. There is no sense in that. As far as I’ve been able to figure out, the only reason people should ever look back is to learn. And, in doing so, allow themselves to move forward with more grace and ease.
And as much as I would have loved to skip the lessons of the teacher called death, that isn’t an option. So, in the spirit of moving forward with grace and ease, I look back on this past year with a lens not on what I lost when we physically bid my beautiful father farewell, but on what I found.
Which was a lot. Because as it turns out, death is one profound mother effer.
And I mean that literally. If you break down the word profound into its parts: “pro” meaning to be for or in favor or something, and “found” meaning to discover or unearth something, you’ll get my point. Death is all for us finding a deeper way of living.
The hole it leaves is cavernous. Beyond deep. And if we are going to crawl out of it, we have to get deep as well. Once there, in that new and uncharted territory within, you can’t really help but find something to take with you as you journey back to wholeness and happiness.
One of the things I found in my journey back is how much different it is to bury your second parent. When my mother passed away, I still had my dad to tether me to life as I knew it. But as that sweet, sickly, adorable little man left his body and flew to his greater place of being, he took with him the umbilical chord that tied me to this Earth.
With him died the very foundation of who I have always known myself to be – my first and longest running identity – that of being daughter. From breath one, I was a daughter. Every other role that I came to play in my life came after that. Every other title I ever adopted was built upon it.
But with the death of my dad came the identity shattering reality that I was no longer someone’s child.
And in that moment, I became an adult, really and truly, for the first time. While I have been a successful, independent, self-functioning grown up for quite a while, what I came to discover is that as long as I was someone’s child, I was not fully an adult.
No matter how old or accomplished you are, as long as you get to be somebody’s kid, a part of you resonates to that and draws from it. I drew the most incredible sense of love and support from being my father’s daughter ever day of my life. I didn’t have to think about it, look for it or try to feel it. Until it was gone. And I did.
When my deepest source of love and support slipped into another dimension, I had no choice but to reconnect into the only love that could ever be more vast than the love in the heart of my father. And, as it turns out, that was the love found in the heart of Life.
This past year has been one really dig deep inside myself to find the place that connects to the Universal source of love and support. The center of the core of the nub of the nucleus of the hub of the heart of it all.
Talk about profound.
Talk about life altering.
Talk about a pain in the ass.
Obviously, I jest. But in all fairness, growth on that level, when you really commit to it, can be a tough row to hoe at times. And in many ways my first steps into true adulthood were much like my first steps into childhood. Wobbly. Uncertain. Lots of falling down.
Yet every step was worth it. Looking back, I can say my entire life, and probably a great many more before this one, have been leading me to the visceral discovery of the simple truth that I am loved. Regardless of whose face is or isn’t in front of me and whose heart is or isn’t sharing it, Love is mine. It is my birthright as a child of this Universe.
That has been the ultimate find in the loss of my father.
I now truly understand on all levels that it is not, nor has it ever been, a matter of deserving love. We all deserve it. We don’t have to look a certain way, do a certain thing or make a certain amount of money to attract love. The very act of doing those things is born from some quiet, hidden belief that love isn’t already ours.
Take a look around your life. Those spouses, friends, children, pets, playmates… They are not the source of the love you feel. They are simply the priceless venues through which Life is delivering the experience of Love. The person, place or thing bringing that feeling to us is a spectacular stand in for the Great Love of Life. Which is fantastic news. It means when that person, place or thing goes away, the love remains.
Love is. Simple as that.
You can fight the is. Ignore the is. Deny the is. Embrace the is. Expand the is. It doesn’t really matter; love can’t be made weaker or stronger by our reaction to it. But we can. Our ability to receive what is always there waiting for us will strengthen or weaken us to the extent we really learn to let love in.
Somewhere, a long time ago, I heard a saying that went something like this: When someone or something moves on, leaving a void your life, something will always grow in its place. And usually that something is you.
I warned you this would be profound. Boom.