In the past week I have learned so much about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. As many of you know my Dad has been fighting ALS (Lou Gherig’s Disease) for 3 years. This week his condition declined considerably. It made me contemplate so much about life and mortality, even more so than I ever did in my last 15 years as a nurse. The many questions that ran through my head, why? what’s to gain? what’s to learn? What am I supposed to feel? What am I supposed to do? All of which I realized the answer to lies deep within, within our hearts, within our souls and they all start with LOVE.
I am one of nine children as I have written before. All with different ways, different personalities, but all made from the same two people, my mom and Dad. Two people who fell in love and created a family of nine children, and 28 grand and great grand children! Watching my Dad’s illness progress has been one of the most difficult, challenging, and humbling experiences of our lives. Faced with the reality of our father’s mortality.. we all came together. We held hands. We prayed. We put any and all differences, obligations and responsibilities aside. Solely for the purpose of being with our father. Just being! We reminisced about childhood memories. We laughed. We cried. We looked through old pictures. Time stopped. Our chaotic lives went on hold…and somehow there was time. Time for all of it. Time for LOVE! It was as though nothing else in the world mattered, because ya know what…it didn’t!!
My Dad would sleep, and then he would awaken. Each time with something amazingly enlightening to say to the one that would sit in front of him. A story, a simple phrase, a joke. It didn’t matter. We soaked it in like a sponge. It brought forth the reality that as we get older obligations and responsibilities seem to take presidence of our time. But in turn those obligations and responsibilities become our struggles, our triumphs, our stories. My Dad has years of wisdom and stories to share and in his words…he’s not done sharing quite yet. We realize this process, although we want to be present and selfishly insert ourselves into it..is really between him and God. We are on a need to know basis in regards to our exits from this world we know. Knowing is apparently overrated. We would ask each other, ask the hospice nurse, ask anyone..what do you think? Perhaps an unconscious effort to allow time for emotional preparation. A preparation that we know deep down would never really happen! Why? Because when you have a love so deep for someone goodbye is impossible to prepare for. You say everything that you think you need to say, but you can never say “I love you” enough!! I have learned from this process the why…because physical death is a part of life and in turn causes us to dig deep. Deep into what we believe in, in that which can sooth our soul. For me, I find solace in knowing that the soul is everlasting. We don’t die, our existence simply becomes different.
So what’s to gain in all this?…memories, fulfillment, wisdom, and ultimately the realization of the Powers of LOVE. I have learned there is no right way to feel, no right thing to do. Their is no proper way to prepare or to recover from loss. As a medium, spirit reminds me everyday they just want us to be happy. Even if it is without them being physically present. So today, I thought about all the wisdom my Dad has shared with me over the years. I thought about what I could do to honor him and his spirit while he is still here. Do you know what he would want. He would want me to live!! Live intently, lovingly, triumphantly, and timelessly!!! So my message in all of this for you, is take time, time today, time tomorrow, and time the day after that. Take time out of what you think you “have” to do, to do something you “need” to do..show someone how much you love them and honor them as a part of your life, your heart and your existence. In the end, that’s what is going to count. It’s that love that our souls forever carry! There is a saying from Rick Warren that goes something like this…”The best use of life is love, The best expression of love is time, the best time to love is now!”