My father died in early 2017. As the holiday season draws near I felt compelled to share this story.  I KNOW the sadness that can fill your heart with the loss of a loved one.  I can promise you that death is not the end and we do live on. Grief is important to feel to help us heal. The following is taken mainly from the eulogy I wrote for my Dad.  He lived a simple life my dad. He never owned an iPhone, had an email address or even had a credit card. Wherever he went out in nature it was to the lake, he would sit and stare at the water, puffing on his cigarette. It was as if he was hopeful he would find some answers and it was indeed one of his places of peace.

He struggled with many demons in this life and he had a lot of anger inside of him which he took it out on others and on himself.  At an early age he turned to alcohol and drugs and would battle with them until his last breath. He tried to get help to stop. Stop the lying, the yelling, the violent acts but his pain was too strong the substance always won out. I tried and tried for years to fix my Dad, show him the light but it never came to pass.

My father spent time in and out of hospitals due to smoking, substance abuse and general ill well-being.  I would get a call from my mother your father’s lung collapsed, he’s in ICU and they think he is going to die. I would jump in my car and drive the four hours back to the Berkshires to sit by his side, talk to my mother and miraculously time and time again he would come out of it.  He spent a lifetime chasing peace in his life. there were times when he was successful but most of the time he struggled.

My dad and I had a very, very bumpy and rocky road over our life together.  Some years would go by and I would see him here and there for a few hours and I would leave hurt and disappointed.  Over the last two years after he was diagnoised with Pancreatic cancer he softened, he softened his view of the world and he opened his heart, he was willing more and more to let go to really be free in life. And isn’t that when it’s time to be free in life? Not to wait until we go to heaven but to find heaven here now. He was sad about how he treated his family and could not figure out how to make up for it, as he couldn’t even have a relationship with himself so he could never say “ I’m sorry” to anyone else.

I surprised my parents in 2016, coming home for Christmas- something I rarely did. I pulled onto the road I grew up on, parked the car and walked 1000 feet flowers in hand to surprise my mom and dad as they were getting ready to go to my brothers house for dinner to meet my aunt and uncle. I called my mother as I was walking those thousand feet- I told her what a beautiful day it was she agreed and I told her that maybe some magic would happen today and at that she looked out the window and there I was in the driveway – flowers in hand with a Santa Claus Hat on my head dressed in red and white with their favorite raspberry Danish.  I came in the house sat down and had a coffee with my dad.

At this point my father had lost 100 pounds and was very childlike. You know that feeling of “I don’t know what’s going to happen next and I’m afraid but I don’t really want to tell anybody I’m afraid”. I asked my Dad if he would drive over to my brother’s house alone with me and he agreed. He got into my car and we drove the back way to my brothers down the mountain through the beautiful valley. And as we turned a corner near a river a beautiful OWL flew in front of car and looked right at us.  My father grabbed my hand and I pulled over to the side of the road and we hugged each other and cried as if we were long-lost friends who hadn’t seen each other in 20 years. He told me how much he loved me, how much he wished things could be different, how much he didn’t want to go, that he wasn’t done. I told him to be strong to know that there is a heaven and that he could go there and he finally, finally, finally would feel peace.  I said Dad, we have a great opportunity here since you know that you’re going to die you could choose a symbol in which you would speak to us. How will you communicate to us when you cross over to the next life? Without hesitation my father said the Firestone, the Firestone. I questioned the Firestone? He reminded me that when he came to visit me at my office the year before he had picked out the stone out of a whole jar of stones- I told him to pick one that spoke to his heart and he picked the Opalite stone, the firestone.   But what my father didn’t know is that maybe the stone chose him. Stones are like the bones of the earth they have a rhythm, a peace. The meaning of Opalite the Fire Stone is highly energetic. It’s ideal for meditation, it improves communication on all levels especially the spiritual, it removes energy blockages of the chakras and meridians emotionally helps by assisting during transitions of all kinds.  It engenders perseverance and gives us strength in verbalizing our hidden feelings and it helps stabilize mood swings and overcomes fatigue. It is a stone of power in transition.

That was December 25 and in the next two months my father’s condition would continue to worsen and he would lose more weight and become exhausted easily, not even wanting to have a conversation.  I had the opportunity to be with my dad within a few days of his passing.  I sat at the edge of his bed stroking his beautiful hair -something I would never ever be able to do when he was well. He was letting go and maybe even for the first time in his life.  I could tell he was ready to leave this world behind but he had all of us together in one room. The last time I saw my dad alive I was by his bed with my mother and brother saying our goodbyes.  As my brother bent down to whisper in my fathers ear – his tears splashing on my Dad’s face he turned and my father spoke for the last time out of some deep place and his soul- it was if he had been saving his strength and his words for one last moment- he said to my brother GO LIVE…

I believe that’s what my father wanted for all of us, to go live. He talked about all these trips he wanted to take, all the places he wanted to go, all the things he wanted to do BUT he couldn’t quite get out of his way. He loved my bother and I and told us ALWAYS trust and follow your heart, he always wanted the best for us whether we knew it or not.

Remember the OWL I mentioned earlier? It showed up in the tree outside of our house one week before my dads passing – it stared in the window for a good two hours I even walked up to it once and looked up and it never moved. Then just two nights before he passed it started getting warm so we opened bedroom window and in the middle of the night we heard “hoo hoo hoo” I will have returned.

My father dying wish to his family was “Go Live “.  So please Go LIVE and do not take this precious life for granted.

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