Four years ago today, I walked into a home hospice room that had been my entire world for the previous six weeks, and found my father dying. In an instant, the singular moment I had been fearing for my entire life, for as long as I can remember, was upon me.
Unless you have cared for a long term terminally ill family member, you will not understand when I say it was one of the richest most valuable moments of my life, a moment I am eternally grateful for, my father’s last gift to me.
It is an amazing thing to be faced with your greatest fear and find yourself a conquering warrior. Realizing that I had the strength to handle my father’s death without the world grinding to a screeching halt gave me a confidence I don’t think my low self-esteem would have allowed me to gain under any other circumstances.
Since that huge moment in time four years ago, I have changed drastically. The changes have been huge, scary and uncertain things, denying situations and relationships that were safe, yet subtle soul poison. I have unblinkingly reached for all that I deserve rather than settling for what I had. I am happier, healthier, and uncompromising.
Life is messy. My father, in his final months, showed me that. In turn, I found that a messy life is better than a complacent life. A beautiful searing pain is better than a dull ache. Through my father’s death, I became brave enough to live, and I am eternally grateful for the experience of being there with him and my family in those final months. I know that he would be so proud of us.