happiness

Who’s who? My dad

I spent a lot of time today with the memory of my dad. I feel like the past few weeks have been so filled fending off the poisoned barbs of hatred that I kind of lost focus on letting in the things that are really important to me.

My dad was one of the things that was really important to me. He wasn’t perfect, but he was such an influential person in my life. He was exceptionally unreasonable during my teenage years (I have no idea why…) and we could really get into it sometimes, but through it all I knew that he loved me unconditionally and always had my back.

Actually, my parents were/are such great examples of what unconditional love is. Even when I’ve been at my most lost and scattered, they have always provided me with a safe place to land. That security of having people who are there for me no matter what is so important, it gives me the freedom to take chances and explore who I am and what my purpose is.

After Dad died I had a lot of friends and family come up to me and express their gratitude for things that Dad had done for them. He had often stepped in and given support, and frequently free legal advice as well, to the people in our lives. He not only provided me with that sense of security and trust, but he gave it freely to so many others as well. He lived with a sense of abundance, not holding onto his knowledge or love, but spreading it around because there was enough for everyone.

He showed me what to expect from a man. Someone who not only worked hard and was successful at his career (and he was very successful), but who lived with integrity, spent time with his family, laughed, loved, and jumped full on into life. I think I took it for granted that because this was my experience all dads are like this. I will never take that for granted again. They’re not.

He not only took great interest in the things that we were doing – I can think of him sitting for hours listening as I babbled on about whatever was my current obsession, probably wanting to stab his eyeballs out, but smiling and encouraging – but he shone that same love and support on his grandchildren. My kids still talk daily about things they did with grandpa and how much they miss his presence. The way he lived his life has made a huge impression on Jacob, and he talks often about becoming the kind of man grandpa was. Jacob is already a good, honest young man. I have no doubt he will make his grandpa proud.

I realize the older I get how exceptional my dad was. I’m realizing in fact how exceptional my entire family is. I don’t know how it happened, but I won the awesome family lottery in that I have this ready made tribe of people who are so strong, loving and kind.

My mom sent me an email this afternoon letting me know that my dad was listed in this year’s Canadian Who’s Who. It’s so wonderful to read about his accomplishments, but to me his real achievement was the kind of person he was. The way he lived his life is something I can hold onto and aspire to. I will always have his tendency to have temper meltdowns (blow it out and move on), but that’s part of being human. To live with an open heart so that people can trust and depend on you as my dad did – that’s a real life achievement.

 

 I miss you Dad xox

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Birthday time 

Today we celebrated my Mom’s birthday. I won’t tell you the number but it was a big one. In the past 11 years we have only been with her for one other birthday celebration, so it was wonderful to get to actually be in person with her on her special day. 

My Mom has taught me so many lessons about life. She’s taught me how to love; fiercely and unconditionally. She’s shown us her love through all our trials and tribulations. She’s taught me to love even when that seems like a difficult thing to do.

She’s taught me about strength. She’s shown me that it’s possible to beat the odds time and time again. She’s a living example that just because people tell you  that something  can’t be done does not mean that has to become your own personal  truth. She’s shown me that you can have tragedies happen and you can still keep moving ahead and achieve greatness and happiness. 

She’s now also Nana and is playing a huge role in the lives of my kids. I always say it’s important to have grandparents because it gives the kids that buffer between generations. It warms my heart that my kids can run over to her place any time they want for a visit. 

I’m so thankful that she’s my mom. She’s my mentor and my friend as well and she’s shown me how to be a better person. 

My happiness moment today was being with her on her birthday. Lucky me!!

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Family time. 

Today we celebrated Mom’s birthday with a family lunch. All of these firsts after Dad died are met with a little apprehension and sadness, but with a house full of family it felt like old times today. 

One of our struggles at a regular family meal is who has to sit in Dad’s chair at the table. It’s a mad rush by everyone to fill the other seats so no one has to sit in his place and be the reminder that he isn’t here. Today my uncle took one for the team and sat at the head of the table. It felt right. It was really nice to have all the seats filled and to have Dad’s filled with uncle dad. 

It’s important to keep the house and our lives filled with family, laughter, love, and happiness. It’s what will help us move ahead and find peace in our souls. 

I’m so grateful for the support and love we have here in our family. I believe Dad was here with us in spirit, happily watching us celebrate the birthday of his soulmate. 

My happiness moment today. Celebrating with family Mom’s birthday, being thankful for mom and all the light she shines into our lives. 

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Fearless in love 

I know that one day can be just like any other, and that  it is us who attach meanings and emotions to certain days. But what the mind knows, the heart still has its own feelings about. 

Mine anyway. 

Today would have been my parents’ 48th wedding anniversary. It was another one of those first occasion days we had to get through. Already it’s been Jacob’s graduation and his birthday. This one was harder because it was a day honoring mom and dad. But without dad. 

Mom and I went to Banff with Jenna and my niece and nephew. It was a great escape day where we were hugged by the mountains and our souls were held in love. Hard as it was, it was wonderful to see this loving group of people reach out and surround mom and walk with her (and me) through this day. 

  
Yesterday I was reading an old email from a forever friend who lost her mom earlier this year and her words are so honest and raw and beautiful I often go back to read them. 

Here’s a small excerpt where she’s talking about what it means to love:

 Love, is one of the forces in life that leads all of us directly into suffering, because we will ultimately lose every person and everything that we love.  

After dad died, MOM is the one who taught me to be fearless enough to love anyway,  without conditions, and take the great risk that loving HER, would break my heart. 

I love that her mom taught her to be fearless enough to love anyway. That the great risk we take in love is knowing that you will lose everything that you love. 

And yet what is the alternative? To go through life with a closed heart that never lets the love shine through. What a painful and empty existence. 

It is important to remember to be fearless in love. To be brave enough to keep loving even though you know you will be hurt. 

No matter what I will wake up each day and look for the things that make my soul shine. I will keep the intention to let my love shine and to be fearless enough to keep loving. That is something I learned from both my mom and dad. Love and look after your loved ones. No matter what. 

Happiness moment was walking main street Banff with a group of my loved ones. Watching the love surround Mom today to hold her in a love hug. Knowing that she is still fearless enough to love anyway. We are blessed. 

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Leave no one behind. 

I remember thinking several times in the weeks before dad died that there were some big things going on here and I’d better remember them. Well, considering what a pivotal point in my life it was, it is amazing how many things I have forgotten or blocked from my memory. I’m glad I’ve been trying to write some of it down. 

One thing that has really stuck with me is how my mom behaved when my dad was sick. She later told me that when dad got his diagnosis a few years ago that she told him he wouldn’t have to go through this alone. She said she would stand by his side and hold his hand through all of it. And that she did. 

She went with him to hundreds of treatments, doctors appointments and lab tests. She lay awake beside him at night making sure he was comfortable. She grabbed a hold of his hand at the beginning of this journey and never let go. Ever. 

I learned a lot about how my family treats sick people watching the final months of my grandma’s life 11 years ago. She was loved and cared for right up until the end. There was some family always around her, and at the end she was brought home to my parents’ place (her old home) to die. My uncle and aunt made sure care was provided for her and her hands were held in love the entire way through her journey. 

It was the same with my dad. Mom made sure someone was always with dad; that he didn’t feel too alone and scared. He didn’t go to hospice until the day before he died and I think of that time at home with him that last week as being a very difficult time, but one where I learned how incredibly strong and loving and courageous my mom, my sister, and I are. When the people you love are down, you reach out and hold their hands.  No matter what. I learned this from walking this path with my mom. 

There have been times in my life where I have been down and stuck that hand out for help only to have that hand trampled on and discarded. It’s easy to pull that hand back in and stop trying to be connected. But, this experience has reminded me of the importance of having those people in my life whose hands I can hold through it all. What a blessing. Having the courage to hold someone’s hand through the hard times, even when you know it will lead to heartache is one of the most courageous and difficult things you can do. 

Tonight we went out to Montana’s for supper before going to Jurassic World. Jacobs birthday is next week so this happened and trust me, it was the happiness moment today. 

   

 

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