I was a child when my father passed away.
Knowing that I was going to grow up without him felt heavy. In my innocence, I took that burden, and carried it on my shoulders for years to come.
Life carried on but I never stopped seeing his absence as something that differentiated me. A loss that signified separation, not only from him, but from everyone else, since I was convinced that no one could understand how I felt. This belief was reinforced through the sound of warning bells within me, when I was around families with both parents present. I was too young to know that I was locked in a vicious cycle of shame for losing someone, and feeling incomplete.
Years passed and I finally got tired of the same story on repeat and I started wondering if there was something that I was overlooking. The love he gave me in the few years we shared together served as an indicator of how illogical it was for me to continue feeling sad. So, I decided it was time for a change of mind and, without a clear path, I began the pursuit of a better outcome.
Silence gifted me with the understanding that in order to release the weight off my shoulders, I needed to find meaning. I deserved a higher understanding of an experience that felt personal to me but that we all go through at one point or another. The moment I accepted that it was not all about me, that I was not the only one missing a loved one, I heard an echo of unity shining through.
It was obvious that I couldn’t go back in time and change the past, I could only make use of the cards that I was dealt, the cards I held in my hands.
So I immersed myself within, and I relived the events in my mind, but this time I did it objectively, without any intention of avoiding the hard parts, and with full trust that I would find clarity.
To my surprise, I discovered the lesson was much simpler than I could possibly imagine when I was focused on the loss. The complexity in the path to understanding love exists because of the attachments we hold, the rigidity of the mind, and the lack of trust that something bigger than ourselves holds us dearly.
The lesson behind my father’s death was more likely a reminder and deeper understanding that one cannot exist without the other. We don’t live to die, we die in order to live. Without the acceptance of death, a joyful life could not truly be.
Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard(1844) said, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.”
From my old immature way of approaching life, I thought this meant that I needed to wait until I was old to understand my life. Now, I understand that knowing there will be an end is what enables me to live. Nonetheless, the will to understanding my past is what led me to a peaceful now.
His death came with a hidden jewel that I couldn’t discover because I related it solely to lack which caused me to overlook the blessing in disguise, which was the reminder of the opportunity of creation and the joy that is experienced when the creation is infused with love and acceptance.
For years I feared the past and the perceived pain I felt, choosing to live within it untouched, but that didn’t make it go away. When the weight got too heavy, I finally dared to feel my feelings in their totality. I decided to use my memories in order to find the hidden messages, like clues you’d decipher and puzzle together, in order to pass to a new level. This rewarded me with healing and growth.
Life is ephemeral and death is the completion of a cycle that must be respected. We are collectively united by individual realities with unique timings. The only use in looking back is for the sake of creating a better future. When I switched the focus from the loss to the love we felt for each other, I became inspired to find a way to break free form the abandonment I felt. Not only did I release the weight I’ve been carrying, but I also found a sense of wholeness and appreciation for my life.
So to all of you out there who have lost a loved one, I can only say: let’s live life purposefully with our hearts in our hands so the fear of death is quieted. When death knocks on our door let’s feel fulfilled, complete, and grateful for a worthy life, so we can peacefully move on into the unknown afterlife that awaits us all.