How I wish that I could tell you
It’s to you that I would run
You were the place that I could always rest my head
When my world had come undone
Sarah McLachlan – Song For My Father
It has been over a week and I have been more emotional than normal. I think it all goes back to the time I spent in Austin for the LIVESTRONG Leader Assembly. While I was there I met some of the most inspiring and loving people. Some I had known via Facebook for some time but we never met face to face. It was amazing to see them before me and we could hug, laugh, and sometimes shed tears together. I was thankful to meet such incredible people but it also made me think about what lead me there.
Over six years ago I lost my father when he died of cancer. It was in the last month of his life that I found LIVESTRONG and they helped me navigate through a legal maze of patients’ rights and also emotional support for myself. It was one of the moments in my life where I was brought to my knees and I was unsure of how to stand again. For the next three years I wandered in a fog just getting by. Losing my father felt like the world opened below my feet and I was clinging to the edge. He was the one person I went to for everything. I could call him at anytime to cry or vent and wait for his calming voice to soothe me. He would offer words of wisdom to help guide me but not tell me what I should do. He was my anchor and he was gone before I was ready.
During his last three weeks of life he was at home where he wanted to die surrounded by his family. It was those three weeks I didn’t want to leave his side and anytime he could speak, I wanted to burn his words into my heart and keep his voice in my memory. He taught me how to live and die. He reminded me over and over to not grieve too long, but celebrate his life. He said he taught me all he could and now I had to take it from there. One thing that always stands out was he would say good always comes from bad. You just have to see it but it won’t always be easy. We get so focused on the bad, we do not see the lesson behind it or what good will follow. I finally see more of the good that came from his passing.
As a human, of course I selfishly wanted to keep him with me for many more years. Life doesn’t work like that and he was one to always say death is just a natural step in life. There is nothing to be afraid of especially if you lead a good life. The years since I lost my dad I still feel him guiding me, even more so now. Austin was when it really dawned on me that even though I will not get over losing my dad, I was surrounded by the good that came from it all. His death lead me to people who work hard to help others. There was a moving moment at the end of our assembly when we surrounded a beautiful soul and I felt as though my dad was there smiling. Losing him lead me to trying to help others who went through or are going through similar circumstances. What a better way to pay tribute to a man who always taught me to help my fellow man.
My dad was a quiet man of few words but when he spoke it carried such importance that I can almost remember all of his advice. One that changed the way I thought happened when I was in elementary school. We discussed people who need extra help and I was questioning why when we didn’t have a lot that we would give it to others. He told me that when you have a home, food, and love, you can always find a way to help those who have less. It was my duty as a human to help others because we are in this together. If I have a piece of bread and my neighbor has none, I am to offer it to him. It isn’t to get thanks or something in return. It is because I am on this earth to help others and when you do, things will be provided to do so. No one should go without.
I will continue to always look towards the light because it will always drown out the darkness. Also, I will continue to do what I can to help those who need it whether it is a shoulder to cry on or more. We all need help at times and it makes a difference when someone is there to offer their hand and heart.