I’ve always known my father was a very loved and respected man, but it’s such an honor to know he touched each one of our lives in a different way and we have been changed because of that. And that change will live with us forever as long as we nourish it to grow.
know the passing of my father has come as a shock to us all. I still catch myself looking at the back door as if he is about to walk in the house. I have not yet found the words to describe what my heart is feeling. It’s a mixture of courage and strength- feeling his love and energy and spirit in my heart mixed with emptiness and sorrow that my father is not here to hug me, love me and share his time and words with me.
I think every girl dreams of her father walking her down the aisle and passing her into the arms of the next man that will take care of her heart…But, I have faith that there is great purpose in all timing and even though I am deeply pained that my father is not physically present, I feel blessed to be filled with profound love and gratitude for the relationship and time we had together.
My dad is an amazing man. One of the best. He had such a hunger for life. And he wanted to participate in it all whether it was traveling the world, moving me all over the country or as my mom tells- getting equal bottled feeing time when we were babies.
He was always up for any adventure- learning, exploring, teaching, sharing…. he use to talk about wanting to tutor inner city kids to help give them more of a chance in this world, and he would have been great at it. When I was a kid, academics never came easy to me, but my dad would walk in the door from a long day at work and then dedicate hours of study time to my brother and me because he loved to learn and he wanted to see us succeed.
He was always caring for others and supporting his friends and family in any venture they pursued. And I feel fortunate that he and I were able to build my medical clinic together with our own hands out in San Diego, California.
What I loved most about my father was his boyish nature. He really emanated the curiosity and spirit of a young boy in a world of opportunity. And he made it a priority to experience the world he lived in to the fullest. I have honestly never met someone that was so great at not sweating the small stuff and absorbing the gift of life. In 29 years, I never heard my father complain.
If you allow it, death can be one of the greatest teachers in life.
It awakens your consciousness. And when you are truly connected and on purpose, we find strength to live life to the fullest with passion, with courage and with an open heart and mind …. never letting fear and all its stems hold us behind a wall of false safety or self created defeat.
Life is going to exist with or without you, so it is worth being present and making an impact.
That is how my father lived life.
He loved connecting with people. To him he wanted everyone’s experience to be positive because that is how he saw the world. He felt that you never knew who you are touching and how you are affecting them so be sure to give them your best, be committed and invested yet unattached to the outcome because God has a bigger plan than our own being is capable of imagining.
We dream with limitations because our dreams are drawn from what we know to be available and true… yet we have to remember that God sees everything and this tragic situation that has left me feeling like I have lost one of the most important, loving, supportive, goofy, intelligent and impactful men in my life… tells me there is more greatness to come.
It’s scary to imagine life without my father. Home is one of those safe places you escape when the world doesn’t make sense. And my parents equipped us to be free and successful in a big world, but always reminded us that home was available in our time of need. SO when you’re home feels broken- you are challenged to move into a new level of awareness and growth.
For human begins, the process of living stains us repeatedly with ups and downs, which can sicken us if harbored or make us whole if released. More than any other life form, we have this majestic burdensome power to harbor or release the impact of our experience. Humbly, we are asked to keep the flow real between what is taken in and what is let out.
We have only our breath to remind us of our presence. Experience in, feelings out. Surprise and challenge in, heartache and joy out. We all participate in this involuntary cycle of fear and confidence, failure and success, tears and laughter and in those moments when we feel we’re done growing we will discover we have just broken through the shell of that layer and entered a new and empty space yet to be explored.
My father understood this eb and flow of life. He took the good in with the bad and wade them as being equally important. And realized that it was all perspective.
If we can trust the process, not only can you make anything happen, but we will have gained one of the greatest gifts in life, which is a deeper faith in the journey.
Think of the journey birds take. They learn how to fly, never knowing where flight will take them. Their wings flow and stretch and span patches of air, first tentatively and then with confidence.
Just like my dad- the “task master”- They are simply stirred by the presence of the morning light, they do not understand the concept of holding back or only investing if the return seems certain. In this we are the only creatures that seek out guarantees, and in doing so, we often snuff the spark that is discovery.
My father and I have been together and teaching each other this great lesson for many life times now. And that is how we connected in this world- a free spirit hungry for knowledge and connection and filled with lots of love.
Besides tennis, USC football, and history, my fathers number one love and priority was family. On every business trip he would make sure to hit one battlefield and one family member.
There is no doubt my heart feels empty and my breath feels weak in his absence, but then I think of his smile, the look in his baby blue eyes, the way his hands would hold mine and his boyish excitement for every little thing in life that stimulated new growth.
It kind of reminds me of when I was 9. My family and I were vacationing on Catalina island. I was never a shy kid, but I so desperately wanted to enter into this singing contest so I could go parasailing for free, but secretly feared not being the best. But my dad showed me that anything in life is worth a try as long as you give it your all and enjoy the moment despite the outcome. So my dad and I popped up on stage, and we sang and danced to “baby I need your lovin” and won first place.
And I just know the confidence he instilled me that day in Catalina, is the same confidence he left me with here today. It’s a scary journey, but even though my dad’s physical body is not present to share our experience on earth, I feel blessed to know I can channel his energy whenever and for however long I need, absent of any human distraction.
We connected in nature.
I can already feel him in every breeze, hear him in every chirping bird and see him in the new growth of every plant. His spirit lives deep within me because I allow it too.
Mom- honor your emotions, you will find a different strength in his absence and it won’t be easy, in fact it will feel impossible at first, but there is so much beauty on the other side of growth.
An Stephen, my sweet and loving brother, you will grow into your own meaning of what it means to be a man, a father and a lover AND because you are our fathers flesh and blood- you will exceed all his expectations and fill the shoes you have been walking beside all your life, especially in this last year. You gotta allow youself to just let go. Not of him but of your pain.
I love you dad. You will always be with me. I miss you terribly. In my fathers honor, FIGHT ON!