For a long time after my father passed away, I didn’t think that life would be the same, and indeed it hasn’t been. In the moments after his death, I was numb. As much as I knew that he was sick, having been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998, his death in 2004 was still a shock to the system. I lost my way, not sure how I was going to survive in this world without him. It seemed in the months after his passing, things in my life took a turn for the worst. There were family issues, relationship issues and I began to feel like I wasn’t going to make it without my daddy there to protect me and make things right again.
It took a long time and a few bumps, bruises and near misses for me to realize that even though he wasn’t physically with me anymore, he would always be in my heart. It has been that knowledge, along with my journey of self-awareness and personal growth that has helped me to become a stronger, more balanced person, than I ever was before – a gift I don’t know I would have been able to appreciate had I not experienced everything I have in since that painful day 8 years ago. At the time I thought the darkness would swallow me whole, but I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel (pardon the cliché) and I know that all the knowledge and experience my father shared with me has given me the strength to persevere and live my life to the fullest.
My father was an amazing man and I was blessed to have him in my life for 29 years. He taught me the importance of doing your best in everything that you do (even the things you don’t like to do) and he showed by example what an amazing gift it is to do what you love as your livelihood. While I didn’t always understand the lessons he was teaching at the time he was teaching them, I can now appreciate what a wise man he truly was. He focused on the things that brought him joy and didn’t sweat the little things that often drive people crazy. He loved to laugh and brought that joy to those of us fortunate to be a part of his life.
The turnout at my father’s funeral and viewing were, for me, a clear indicator of the many lives that he had touched. Hundreds of people came to pay their respects and to share their fond recollections and it made me realize that even though he was no longer with us in the way we wanted him to be; he was never truly very far because he left us with such great memories. I am eternally grateful that I was given the opportunity to have such a wonderful man as my father. I miss his physical presence dearly; however I know that he is always with me. His unconditional love for me is something that will never fade and my love for him will forever stand the test of time. ♥
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