We don't typically write personal posts here. However, we hope you will allow us this exception.
I lost my father recently, and while there is never an easy time to lose a loved one, this time of year seems particularly difficult. But, when I think about my dad, if we had to lose him, this season of giving is entirely appropriate. I wanted to share with you some of the gifts I have received from my dad, and I encourage you to take the time to reflect on those who have brought (and continue to bring) similar gifts to you.
Instead of dwelling on how sad we are for our loss, we have to celebrate the gifts we have received for having a loved one in our lives. The gifts we (my family, our friends, and I) received from Dad are the lessons he taught us by the way he lived his life. What greater gift can you give someone than to help them become a better person? Dad gave each of us this gift over and over.
- I have never known anybody who worked harder than Dad. As hard as the work was, he loved what he did. He taught us to work hard, to love the work we do, but most importantly, to love WHY we do it even more – for the benefit of our family and friends.
- Dad was one of the proudest men I have ever known; not only did he show us how to wear our pride with humility, he taught us that it's okay to accept help in a time of need.
- He was one of the bravest men I have ever known; not only did he give us comfort when we struggled to find our own bravery, he taught us that it's okay to be scared.
- If you ever saw some of the wounds he brought home with him from work (he worked construction his whole life), you know he was tough. But as tough as he was (of body and mind), he showed us how to be tough and gentle at the very same time.
- He taught us that having a rich life isn't about material possessions, but about having family and friends with whom to share life's journey.
- He showed us how to find greater happiness for ourselves by being genuinely happy for others.
The last couple of years were hard for Dad, but once again, he provided us with a gift, one last lesson: he taught us how to fight with dignity and determination.
In true Dad fashion, the one gift he needed most for himself, an organ transplant, was also the one last gift he wanted to be able to give to someone else.
He wasn't able to give that final gift of his physical self, but we all know he spent his whole life giving each of us a part of him to carry with us for the rest of our lives. A part of Dad does live on in each of us fortunate enough to have had him in our life.
Especially during this time of giving, honor those who have given you what Dad gave to us and "re-gift" what you have received.
I hope to share my dad's . . .
- kindness with everyone I have the privilege of meeting
- generosity, by giving the most precious things any of us have, my love and my time
- empathy for those who are going through some struggle of their own
- enjoyment of life by enjoying every single moment of every single day
- sense of humor by bringing a little laughter into every day
- appreciation of a story even if that means telling the same story over and over
- love by allowing myself to love, and to be loved in return
Above all else, I hope to slow down enough every single day to recognize and share my love and appreciation for all of those I am fortunate enough to have in my life.
We miss you already Dad.
Adorable picture of Dad as a young boy. Known by Mom as Ronnie; known by most as Ron.