From beginning to end, I was pursued by my own personal little rain cloud. No matter what I was doing or where I went, you’d see a teeny, gray puffball hovering patiently nearby. If nothing else, I can at least say the damn thing was loyal. It had eyes for no one else but me.
The offenders responsible for my shadow had the misfortune to make their debut at the same time I found myself consumed by the overwhelming sorrow of “Life After Dad.” I’m not sure why it’s affected me more profoundly this month than any of the others, but with everything compounded together, it’s been like a hammer blow to the chest over and over again. I just couldn’t catch my breath.
Loss is like a deep, gaping wound that leaves us with a profound pain and a fear that it will never heal. But loss is also a lesson. And sometimes lessons are hard learned. A few days before my father passed away, we had a big pool party at my parent’s house. My dad was manning the grill in between his cannon balls into the pool…it was a typical family weekend for us. At the end of the afternoon I was in a hurry to get back home for some stupid reason that I can’t even think of now, and I told my mom goodbye and asked where Dad was. In typical Dad fashion…he’d snuck off for an afternoon nap and being that I was in a rush, I bypassed his room and instead chose to head to the car…after all, I’d talk to him later, right?
That was the last time I ever saw or spoke to my father.
To this day, I live with the intense shame that I was in such a hurry that I couldn’t be bothered to stop and tell my Dad goodbye. I don’t know that I could have lived with myself if that day had ended differently, if he hadn’t chased me down and given me that hug.
His loss has also brought about other lessons for me:
* Life is too short to have people in your life that don’t have your best interests at heart. Time to treat life like Facebook and hit the “End Connection” button on the friend list. Purge the negativity.
*Life is too short to be miserable.
*Life is too short…take a risk…make big goals.
*Life is too short…stop rushing. Enjoy the ride.
I can’t explain it, but there was something about October 1st. Nothing special happened in history and it’s not a national holiday…but for me on that day, the weight that had been bearing down on my shoulders and crushing my spirit, magically disappeared and with it…my little rain cloud.
But what do I do now?