I spent the week in Texas with family saying goodbye to my Fathers physical body. Visiting with my step mother, cousins, nieces, great nieces and nephews and siblings, five out of the seven of my Fathers children from four different wives were there along with our two step sisters who are sisters to me in every way. The services were awakening for some of us as men took the podium to speak their memories of our Father and share how he saved their lives when they were on a path of self destruction and helped them to get sober and find their higher power. My Dad ran sober living houses for many years and I believe found his calling in healing himself and others.
For us, his children who mostly did not get much of a father figure out of Dad, hearing these men talk about their lives being saved by Our Father showed us a side to him we all longed to know. I knew this side of my Dad, I was blessed to have that in my life time. I also knew him in the end when he gave up and went back to drinking in his last year of life. When I received the news that he had died I cried tears of guilt for our last conversation was me yelling at him about giving up. I gave him a stern talking to about this and felt so guilty that the last words he heard from me were of that nature. I realized on this trip that he knew I was coming from love, in that realization I remembered his voice on the other end replying with love and remembered that he understood I was trying to save his life.
For my Father losing his independence was his breaking point, he went out kicking and screaming. I have to laugh when I say it, because that is so my Dad's style. I laughed as my brother Little David told me stories of him being chased down the side of the street by nurse aids after he escaped from the nursing home in his wheelchair screaming profanities while telling them he didn't need their help. That was the type of man my Father was, he could help others but didn't need our help if it took away his independence in any way. I inherited that trait from my Father. I find myself sitting here today thankful for this past year and the journey of learning to accept help from others, allowing myself to learn it is okay to be vulnerable, learning that is not weakness but strength and we are meant to help each other, meant to help and be helped.
I gained the understanding that while my Father went out kicking and screaming he is home now. I stood over his coffin looking at his body with my Sister as we cried and I knew he was not in there. I could feel his presence all around me, not in that body however. I bent down over him and whispered in his ear my gratitude for his lessons in life, good and bad he taught me so much. I made a promise to him never to give up. To continue to learn to allow others in, to allow others to help me so that anger cannot grow in me for longer than needed to bring the actions needed to process lives lessons. I felt that he heard me and we both understood that the lessons his inability to accept help gave me were as valuable as all the other lessons his abilities taught me.
Later that night we all went out to dinner and finished the evening sitting around my Sister Tina's kitchen table sharing our stories, memories and lives with each other. So much healing took place at that table as we learned what our siblings lives had been. Many of us didn't know each other or of each other until the last 10 years of my Fathers life. We bonded in many ways at that table and we learned so much about our Fathers life, our ancestors and more. I have some amazing stories to share with all of you and will do so on another post, this is my closure post on my fathers physical life and celebration of his souls journey.
Throughout the week before and during the visit so many reached out to console me during this time of loss. At first I felt as if I should feel guilty or as if something was wrong with me as I didn't feel the traditional mourning we are conditioned to believe we need to feel and display to in some way prove our love for the deceased. There were brief moments of regret and guilt for our last conversation, however, those moments healed quickly as I found the lesson and the silver lining in them. I found myself consoling many who were trying to console me, ironically. I just didn't feel sad for my Father, I feel joy and complete understanding. I have this faith now that sustains me, this knowing that he is not gone, he is home. He walked his path here and experienced what he was meant to experience. He is now home surrounded by love. I feel joy for that. I see clearly the impact his accomplishments and his failures had on all our lives.
As I sat with my siblings I realized that the chain of events so many of us resented over the years unfolded they opened doors for the next in line of us to come to be. If my father had not been the man he was all of us would not have been here. If my Father had not walked the path he walked the paths that followed with his children would have never came to be. I saw that what we carried pain and confusion over was what was needed to bring us to that table at that moment and in that understood it all.
Each one of us has something from him, we each carry a part of our Fathers character, a part of our Fathers looks, attitude, personality. We all have his big heart. Our Father had an amazing heart and loved big and hard even in the worst times for him, that rang loud and clear at his service and throughout the whole visit. We all share that ability to love abundantly.
As we closed the door on Our Fathers life here we opened doors with each other, bonds were formed, understanding gained a desire to know more grew. We came together in Our Fathers absence where we were not able to in his presence and all was as it should be. I felt such a strong connection with my brothers while in their presence, when we hugged I was home. I felt such love for them and from them. I will not let so much time pass again without them in my life. I need them, they are my Brothers and they are amazing.
That was an beautiful understanding for me, just a little more than over a year ago I would have felt so differently about all this. My Journey, this One Love Journey began a path of healing and understanding that made closing this chapter of my life a joyous event of love and understanding. For that I am very grateful and see the power of facing my fears, healing with love and changing the conditioned thinking that led me down self destructive paths in the past. In the past this would have been an excuse to be not so good to me, today it is a reason to be better than ever to me. My ability to see the lessons and learn from them, take what is needed for my growth and heal from the pain is such a gift. I am filled with gratitude for it all, every part of my life today, that is awesome, or as my little Sister Tamar said at the table, gnarly, haha we all laughed as she said it, Tamar and I being from California use words that our siblings find as funny as we find their accents and language. It was really gnarly to come together and share it all.
I love you all from a place of Joy for the life my father lived, the lives he created and the lessons learned from it all. I love you Daddy, I feel you all around us and I know you are with me for the rest of this Journey in ways you could not be here in your physical life. I see clearly that those missing parts were essential in forming the woman I am today and thank you for it all.
Lelania Pin It