I woke up this morning after a restless night thinking about my father. I made a cup of coffee and went out on the patio to think. I want things to go back to normal what ever that is. I realized yesterday though that there won’t be any going back to normal. The normal I knew is gone. I realized yesterday that I will have to make a new normal. That losing a parent is a life changing event, one that affects all facets of your life. I know that I had never really asked anything from my father, I always knew if I really needed something that he would be there for me. Now that is not true, I know that he will be there for me in spirit but you will have to agree that is not the same. So my normal will have to change. Instead of my father to go to in times of need, we as a family will have to form new bonds with each other. Form a safety net amongst ourselves. Release some of the animosity from the past, give up the rivalry. That will have to be our new normal.
My Fathers legacy
My father died a pauper, but he was one of the richest men I knew. His legacy to us is one of giving. When my mother got Alzheimer’s, he didn’t put her in a home, he didn’t wash his hands and say I can’t do this. He took constant care of her for over 12 years, more than that if you count the years before she was diagnosed. His care was a testament to the love that he had for my mother. After she passed, he was a little lost, there was no one that “needed” him like she did. He found that by giving of himself that he felt whole. He found another Alzheimer’s sufferer, named Al, and lived with him taking care of him. Yes he got paid a little for it, but really deep down, he enjoyed the feeling of caring for another human being in need. After Al passed he volunteered his time and money helping other Alzheimer’s patients in his area. That is just a portion of his giving heart. My brother Randy, was my fathers best friend. They got along like peas in a pod, they were kindred spirits. My brothers health suffered over the years, he has had several heart attacks and although he has recovered, each one has left him a little more down. My father with his ever-present humor would help him get better. Help him to see a brighter day.
My question today is how do I pick up the torch of giving that has been passed down by my father?? How do I take up his legacy and make it part of that my new “normal”. My answer, right now, is I don’t really know. I know that there are big shoes to fill, I know that there are hundreds of people in need in my area. The thought is almost overwhelming.
My father has taught me one last thing… Giving is better than receiving.