Five years ago on my 50th birthday, I was living a life fraught with contradictions. In Colorado, but not the town I loved. Working, but not in the industry I loved. Living a life I was choosing even as I knew some things were deeply unaligned.
My dad’s health had been failing since brain surgery two years prior and I lived too far away to visit. With his brain damage telephone calls were beyond painful — listening to my intelligent, creative father struggle for simple words and get frustrated with himself. The recession had left my partner and I in a poor financial situation and travel was out of the question. My problem was, I thought I had time. I kept thinking and believing that my situation was going to get better, even as circumstances continued to be the lie to that belief.
On this day five years ago, my dad was very ill. He ate little and went to sleep in the sun, with his trusty earbuds and music, his towel and his water. His heart stopped laying out there by the pool. No one around him even knew.
Ironically, I now live about six minutes away from their home in Palm Springs. I’ve lived out here almost a year now and it’s hard to count how many times I’ve kicked myself for not being this close years ago. What I wouldn’t give to have been able to visit him and my mom weekly, to share his life more deeply. I’ll probably always feel as if I was just getting to know him as an adult and then he was gone.
I think dad’s last months found him frustrated, and tired. I too was frustrated — with myself for not being able to create the situation to visit. And tired of my excuses to myself.
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Every day I have again the opportunity to change. Grow. Be better. “Do normal” as they say in the Netherlands. This morning I pledge again to renew my commitment to living, growing, changing. I accept and surrender to all that is the past and I know that what is happening right here and right now is the most important place I can be, and the most important thing for me to do.
I commit to remembering that we merely “think” we have time, while practicing time in the present moment.
At this moment of commemoration I pledge to honor the lives of my dad, and Jax, by living fully right here and right now. I love you both. I miss you like hell.
PHOTO NOTE: for those of you who were blessed to know my dad, you would remember that he was a man who loved play! toys, kites, games, you name it, he was willing to try. The picture featured here was from thanksgiving of 2010 when we took the fam to southern california. it was a good trip.