My father passed away last night peacefully and on his own terms. He was 89 and had lived a rich, full life. He volunteered almost to a fault, always willing to lend a hand to someone in need. He trained people to excel in their career and worked hard to provide for his family. Most importantly he raised three children to be self-reliant, well-rounded and successful adults.
His generation had survived difficult times and they had learned to not give up. Keep moving forward until you overcome the obstacle in your path. He never told us which direction to go or how to fix it once we got there; he just stayed close by, holding our hand until we figured it out for ourselves. I remember when I was young I had asked my father to scratch my back, he told me to go rub against the corner of the wall. I was hurt that he would not help me—until one day twenty years later and living alone, my back began to itch. As I rubbed against the corner, I realized how much my father had taught me about self-reliance. A simple lesson that would last a lifetime.
My father was proud of my new success as an author. His pride was not in my accomplishments, but in the fact that I was determined to make my dreams a reality no matter how slippery the slope. I try every day to pass that message along to my son.
I am fortunate to have the love and support of many people during this difficult time, but ultimately we travel down our path alone. The others are standing by the side of the road, cheering us on, lending support or just smiling as we pass by—some will even travel with us at times, but in the end, we must make the choice to live our lives as we wish and we must be prepared to do it alone if necessary.
We sat by his bedside yesterday watching him fade but it wasn’t until we left the hospital that he passed away; alone and on his own terms. Like a steadfast rock in a moving stream, the water wears away bits of stone washing it downstream until they become part of the great big ocean and gain new purpose. I do not know what his new purpose will be in this wide open universe, but I do know, he has already volunteered to do whatever is necessary to make it happen. I will miss him every day. They say you do not truly become an adult until you lose a parent, I don’t know if I will ever grow up, but I do know that even if I do , I will always be Daddy’s little girl.