My father passed away last week a few months shy of his 81st birthday. It was of course very sad, but I am more than fine now after an outpouring of support from friends, family and co-workers. Now that my emotions are in check, I wanted to make a few observations.
Forgiveness. My father was not the best dad when I was young, as he was fighting many issues of his own including alcoholism, and I was bitter about it as a younger man. When I completely forgave him, however, it not only freed my own head of a lot of anger, it also helped me appreciate and enjoy my dad more and more. By the time he passed away I had learned to enjoy every moment with him.
Visiting your elderly parents when you can. B/c I enjoyed my dad and b/c I knew his time was limited, I made it a point to call every week and to visit him in AZ regularly. And now that he is gone, I could not be happier that I made that commitment.
Don’t confuse self-worth with net worth. B/c this is such a problem in America, this phrase has almost become a cliché. But my dad suffered badly from this confusion to the very end. It was sad b/c it often kept him from enjoying life and how much he was truly loved for just being a friend, husband, dad, and grandpa.
Don’t stop trying or swinging for the fences. The one positive byproduct of my dad’s net worth/self-worth confusion was his need to keep working and to keep swinging for the fences to the very end. This kept him in the game and kept him very engaged and active. There is no doubt he would have deteriorated many years sooner if he had just “retired.”
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