Insights From Being With My Dad On His Final Journey

I lost my father on Monday. He has battled heart disease for many years. He was a kind, generous person who was outgoing and very involved in his community. We often saw the world very differently but he always had unconditional love for me. Everyone needs someone like that in their lives.

Sometimes I asked him too many questions about his ideas and it made him uncomfortable. He was a person who had a strong faith in what he believed and didn’t like different points of view. My nature is one of curiosity, inviting new perspectives and encouraging the search for truth.  

I was an imperfect son to him. He was disappointed in my rejection of the Catholic faith and in my politics. He once said to friends that he sent me away to college and I came back a “damn liberal.” He did not say that with animosity but more “a wish” that things were different.

I saw the world from another viewpoint. I am not a person of religious faith. I am deeply spiritual but I’m not a member of a religion. I am more of an explorer of higher consciousness and a seeker of the truth.

My politics are progressive but I have come to understand that real change is needed and politics is not the answer. My dad had a deep faith in the Catholic Church and a conservative view of the world. If we avoided these two topics we got along well. 

Beyond the differences in beliefs and points of view however, we share compassion for the suffering of others. We are both generous in our own ways. We both greatly value and feel gratitude for our family. We enjoy sports and playing golf. We appreciate the outdoors and the beauty of nature. We both also see the goodness in those who act from their heart.

My mother passed a few years back and now with Dad gone I am without parents. I feel the parentless void. The kid in me wants to know I have someone to be there if I get myself into a mess. 

I will miss his caring very much. I also feel strangely liberated because I no longer have parental expectations to try and live up to. Dad definitely had expectations and as a child I didn’t like to let him down. As I grew older, I often felt like I disappointed him in some ways. Being true to myself naturally separates me from the expectations of him and others.

Mostly however he appreciated the person I had become. I also appreciate the person he had become. His heart seemed to open more as he got older.  He even recently expressed his love in words when before it was more in the way he seemed to care.

Many people fear death. My dad did not. He trusted that he had lived his life in ways that it would all work out after he died. I recently asked him about what he thought about the afterlife and he said he never really thought about “those kinds of things.” He trusted his faith.

My faith is not in a “faith” but in my own journey of exploring how I can further open my mind and heart. I am both personally and professionally someone who asks questions. I have, for most of my adult life, gone in search of my own truth. My work has been helping others find their way to what mattered to them, to their heart, and to a higher level of consciousness and well-being.

My dad seemed to value the work I do and understood its importance. Not long ago he helped me, as I moved back to Oregon to be closer to family and to do some healing from the very intense work I was doing with addicts.

Now he is gone. I feel sadness but mostly I feel happy for him because he is free of the suffering he endured as his body failed him. He was an active person and his body was no longer up to all he wanted to do. Now he is free and I suspect enjoying the vibrancy of his soul. I hope there are golf courses and ski slopes in the afterlife because I am sure he would love to be able to do those activities again. 

Today, as I write, I see his peaceful face as he passed. He left touching many with his expanding heart. I am so glad to have shared those last days with him. We had time to be grateful for each other.

More and more I am learning to appreciate all those I am blessed to know. Each of us is such an original creation. It is a loss to everyone if we don’t explore and express all we are as fully as we can. 

Peace, joy and love to you. Let your light shine brightly.