6 years ago today my family was rocked by the death of a key member. My step dad lost his battle to colon cancer. He was taken away much too early for any of our liking, but not soon enough for the suffering he endured. He fought hard and selflessly, stating that even if the experimental treatments wouldn’t help him, at least they’d help someone else. His actions and words ring loudly in my mind today.
As I sit here and look back to that exact day… at the exact moments of where we were 6 years ago to the day, almost to the minute of when we had to let go and say good-bye, I find myself oddly content and accepting of his absence.
Time is a crazy phenomenon. It has the ability to fly by so quickly that you don’t even realize just how much has gone by while at the same time stopping in a mere heartbeat and seeming to freeze indefinitely. The saying “Time heals all things” couldn’t speak more truly to me on this day. While he is not here to witness all that has changed and his absence is NEVER forgotten, knowing that he would be proud of each and every one of us in our words, actions and choices is a comforting thought.
A LOT has happened in 6 years. It’s astonishing to think just how much has actually taken place in such a short time span. His kids are all continuing about in their day-to-day lives, making their mark on the Earth he left behind. His grandkids are growing up ever so quickly… as they were such little ones in their own respect when he passed, hoping the memories they have of him won’t fade too quickly. Each having a special bond with pap-pap/grandpa in their own right.
Marriages, celebrations, more deaths, stronger family bonds…life does go on. Time pushes you forward without you even realizing it. Time helps to heal the wounds left open from his passing. Not to say that the actual loss was made easier, because not a day goes by that he’s not missed, honored or remembered. Time has helped each of us deal in our own way. Time has allowed for some of us to grow closer to each other. Time has allowed for our family to grow exponentially and shape us into the family, the plan, that God has created for each of us.
While I look back at the individual I was 6 years ago and the person I am today, I know that Lynn would be proud. His gentle yet strong words of encouragement will always remain central to who I am. His patience is something I hope to be able to carry forward. From chauffeurring me to and from band and working at Kennywood, to teaching me to drive, to dealing with family dynamics, he truly was the most GENTLE MAN. Even when he could have flipped out at me for wrecking our car within the first few months of me having my license, he didn’t. Saying only, you need to be more careful. I was much more insecure in and of myself 6 years ago. Insecure of my place in this world, my goals, aspirations, my writing, relationships, my place in the family, etc. Time has helped me to grow, to learn, to change…. Time has helped me to be more accepting.
6 Years has help me learn to accept all that comes my way in life. If ever I’ve learned something from Lynn’s passing it is that LIFE IS NOT ALWAYS FAIR. Seriously, how many times have you thought or said that something is not fair? I know I’ve said it too many times throughout the course of my life. I’ve finally come to a point that I am able to ACCEPT that fair is a relatively frivolous word. What is fair? What makes something fair? If you really think about it, not much that happens is truly fair. Bad things happen to good people ALL THE TIME. Just as we may feel good things happen to seemingly undeserving people all the time.
Life is not about being fair. It’s about the choices you make. It’s about the mark you leave on the world and the impression you make on those around you. It’s about doing good for yourself and by others. It’s about cherishing those closest to you, remembering those who have gone before you and leading the way through positive example for those who come after you.
Accepting that not everything works out as you may have planned for yourself is a great feat. Accepting that you have the ability to control some aspects of your life while many aspects are not wholly in your control but in the hands of ANOTHER is tougher still.
Time has helped me to accept that it’s not up to us when or how we leave this Earth. Time has allowed for me to remember and cherish all the good that Lynn brought to my life and my family. Time has shown me that though he is not physically here in our day-to-day goings on, he is in our hearts so long as we choose to keep him there. Time has shown me just how strong I can be, and how much I have to offer those around me.
I accept that Lynn and so many others are in a better place now than they were before they left us. Leaving behind the pain, suffering and discomfort that illness brought them did mean they left loved ones behind that would mourn, hurt and miss them to unbelievable degrees. I accept it now… 6 years ago, accepting his absence was unthinkable. Do I miss him still? More than you can know, but I accept his absence more willingly now.
Time + Acceptance = HEALING
Time has helped me… time heals for some. For others, it only gets more difficult with time. Learning to deal in your own manner is the tricky part. I’m still learning to balance it all. In time and with acceptance I believe I have come to appreciate his role in my life while he was here on Earth and the role he still plays in my life from above.
Something that helps… a piece of artwork in my apartment… reading and repeating the words when things get tough and I’m not sure what to do or how to react… THE SERENITY PRAYER…
God Grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change;
the COURAGE to change the things I can;
and the WISDOM to know the difference.
Simple words, but their significance is paramount in my life. Knowing when to let go is a tough aspect of life. Knowing when to let go of the worrying, the insecurities, the regret and the notion of “FAIR,” are no easy tasks to take hold of.
The ability to take a step back and acknowledge that YOU CAN’T DO IT ALL alone is HUGE.
Lynn’s influence on my life can’t really be put in to words… so I’ll try briefly. He was a strong man in his beliefs and actions. He spoke poorly of no one and knew EVERYONE. He was dedicated to his family beyond comparison. Didn’t know a more hard-working man than he and have yet to meet one since. His heart of gold and smile could win over just about anyone.. even the toughest of individuals, like my pap. You knew just how much he loved his kids and grandkids without him even saying a word… just the mention of their names and you could see the pride on his face. His love for my mom was so amazing… who’d have thought a blind date would have brought them so close. They completed each other… The smiles of each of their faces was the ONLY “proof” or “evidence” needed. Rediscovering his faith in love and family brought him to rediscover his faith as well. While some didn’t believe it was the “right” faith (what is that any way????), he was happy. Shortly after, he was diagnosed with cancer.
What I can take from this whole situation and his role in my life….
I’ve learned to be strong. Have faith in myself and my convictions. Hold family close and love unconditionally. It’s NEVER too late to try something new.
Most importantly , I’ve learned to be ACCEPTING. Accepting of others, of myself and all that happens in life. There’s nothing more to it.
Below is a link to one of my favorite songs of all time… It took on new meaning after having lost Lynn and several others in the last few years. Don’t take a minute in your life for granted. Appreciate any and all interactions you have for you never know when it is the last.