Today is my father’s 6th memorial. It has been six year. Yet a lot has changed. So much has changed. I have two babies he never met, one named after him. I have lost dreams. I am in the recovery phase of many losses. Ever since that day last year (See the link), it has been continuous growth. There has been lapses. There has been setbacks. But grace has been sufficient. You do not know Grace until grace is all you have to move on. You do not know strength until strength is all you have.
For anyone going through loss of any kind, it may feel like the world has fallen apart. It may feel like the heart has broken into many pieces. It may feel like you are drowning. It may feel like all is lost. I say to you, hang in there. Sometimes last year, saying fine felt alien. I remember telling my therapist that if I say am fine, I will be a fraud. Sometimes, the words okay and fine and well do lose meaning to us. But they are still words that mean as they are. Someday you will look in the mirror and say, “I feel fine. I actually feel fine.” You will look at your life and know you have reached the peak of that mountain you were climbing. You will look back and wonder, how the hell did I make it through all that. You will look at yourself and congratulate you for transcending the pain. Transcending the heartbreaks. Transcending the life that was supposed to crush you. You will be proud of yourself, because only you know the journeys you have traveled. Only you know the darkness of the valley of death. Only you know the pain in places you did not know existed. It ends. In the end it all ends. And you will be better, stronger, wiser. More genuine to yourself. You will notice a part of you that you have never seen before. A part that knows, I am better because I went through that. Take your time. Be patient with yourself. A lot patient. Yes, sometimes you will wish that life was a light bulb and you could press a switch and your scene would change. Life is not that. You have to allow yourself to grow. If it gets too dark, ask for help. Someone will come to you with a torch. Someone.
If you are a friend to someone going through tough times, be present, be present. Just hang in there with the person. Do not minimize someone’s sorrow. It is personal. Do not tell them to snap out of it. It is not a switch. Do not criticize their feelings. In the end only they do understand their space. You do not really feel them. You can not experience them as themselves. All they need from you is empathy and hope and a lot of love and compassion. Anything else is destructive.
I come to an end of eulogizing my father. I do not know what the future holds. But I can not be fixated anymore. I have allowed myself to feel what I needed to feel. To let go of what I needed to let go. To change what I needed to change. To hang on to what I needed to hang on to. I will keep the memories. I am not totally free of him. I will remember the scents that forever linger when I think of him. Imperial leather soap. The red one. The smell in the kitchen. Of fine cooked tea and beef. Of cleanliness. The scent that was only him. I will remember the moments. He is gone. I am still here. I am okay with that now. This does not mean I will not cry anymore. It only means I am ready for what lies ahead. It calls for a lot from me as an individual. I have to stand on my own two feet and be sufficient, not only for me but my children as well. He was the fall back that is gone. He was the support that is gone. He was many things which are all gone. I have to fight my own battles now. I have to live my dreams, knowing that secretly, wherever he is, he cheers me on. The validation that was will never be. I am my own validation. I am my own cheerleader. I am my own mentor. I am my own person.
Great leadership is influential. He influenced me in many ways. And for that I am grateful. I will keep calling on his words in my journey of life. I got to know my father after he retired in 1997. I appreciate the almost 20 years that he was of great influence in my life. I live now in appreciation that he lived. I shall no loner mourn he is gone. I am because I shared my life with him, among other things. I am because, God blessed me with him as my father.
I can now confidently say, Rest in Peace Dad. Rest in peace. I can officially let you go.
Eternal rest grant unto him O lord,
May Perpetual light shine upon him,
May he rest in peace,
Fare thee well. It is well with me now. It will be well with me….