When I was growing up as a kid I wasn’t able to see my biological father every day and so as a kid, I barely knew him. Mostly I knew him as this person who I ‘thought’ about alot in my head. I wanted to have the kind of father-daughter relationship that I heard my friends speak of and when that didn’t happen, I made up scenario’s in my head about what that might look and feel like. Growing up I spent one week out of every year with him and for the longest time I felt robbed of something and eventually, I blamed him and became very angry and resentful at him for not living up to how and what I ‘thought’ a dad should behave and act like.
So for most of my life the relationship that I had with my biological father was one that I had made up within and as my mind. Eventually, after one failed marriage and the impending collapse of my second one, I took a trip to see my father and for the first time I was able to share with him how I had thought and felt about him throughout my life.
An interesting thing that came to be in that moment – of what must have seemed to him like brutal self honesty being thrown at him from every direction – was that I for the first time realized that the entire ‘idea’ about him that I had participated within and as in my head, couldn’t have been more wrong. I remember watching his every move while I was sharing with him and was taken back by the man standing before me who never took his eyes off of me while I spoke. It was like he was intent to hear every word I said and I can only describe him as displaying an elegance as he quietly within himself seem to take responsibility for how I had felt and experienced myself with regards to him.
And it was an interesting moment because within a small moment of awareness between us, I was able to forgive him and in the process forgive myself. It would be years later before I would come to see, realize and understand that it was never about forgiving him, it was always about forgiving myself. And I mean, he offered no apologies, and as it turned out I didn’t need an apology. What I needed from him was what he gave me when he took responsibility for being who he was, and it forever stopped and changed the nature of our relationship.
Alright so that was many years ago and since then him and I have kept in touch, however, since we live hours from each other it’s been difficult to see him as much as I would have liked to. So when I was diagnosed with cancer a year and a half ago, him and I began to speak on the phone often, and over the course of the last year we’ve gotten to know each other free from judgments, blame, shame and /or guilt. Which is cool because when you remove feelings and emotions from the equation what you get is a stable meaningful and assisting relationship. That’s how our relationship has been developing and we would talk about lots of things like money for instance, and about how hard it is to survive in this world.
He knew the challenges of making ends meet in a money system that is obviously broken. Nevertheless, he worked hard and made a good living working in a machine shop that built airplane parts for a major corporation for many years. Unfortunately there were very few regulations back then with regards to protecting the skilled laborer and so he was exposed to breathing extremely fine metal shavings which over time accumulated and the result was irreversible lung damage.
So 10 years ago he was diagnosed with severe lung damage and already outlived the amount of time the doctors first predicted he’d have left to live. During that 10 year time span, the Doctors prepared him for how the end of his life would most likely happen – congestive heart failure and possible kidney and/ or organ failure do to the meds to reduce the fluid build-up that comes with having poor lung function / congestive heart failure.
So unfortunately he’s been in and out of the hospital over the past few months and his quality of life has been deteriorating daily, but even so, what I was aware of the last time that him and I spoke was how he spoke with a quiet resolve.
The last time him and I spoke was about a month ago, and this morning my dad passed away.
I will miss him. I will miss our chats. And, I am grateful that him and I came together as we both faced illness and our fear of death and dying. When we would speak, the tone of his voice held no feel of judgment. Maybe that’s what allowed him the gentleness that came through in his nature during his last months here which really assisted me to see, realize and understand what’s worth giving for, which is Life. That whatever it takes, LIFE must Not be experienced as a suffering by anyone, and to ensure that doesn’t happen ever again, we Give to All, that which we would want given to ourself.
“I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to place all my trust in Love instead of the common sense of living in ways that is practically best for all life and thus best to be the foundation of all relationships in all ways.
I commit myself to reform the foundation of love to be the result of effective common sense living in a practical measurable way where all cards are always on the table and no thoughts exist that are hidden that could lead to justification and judgments that will end up in break-ups purely because the self interest of feeling was measured to be worth more that the integrity and respect of self honest living.
I commit myself to reform the understanding of the place and use of the mind and thinking to its rightful place as a tool with which to design living patterns of flesh as self that is best for all life and not allow myself the compromise to regard the mind as more than life and as a tool that has rights that overshadow life.” Bernard Poolman