Love & Loss

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Love and loss go hand in hand.

But why was the loss of my father so life changing?

I already had some understanding of grief and loss before my father’s death.  I had already experienced 38 years of life when he passed. I was no Spring Chicken! I had already lost my grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins and friends. Some taken too early, some tragically and others peacefully.

I had already dwelled on the what if’s, bucket lists and promises one makes when you experience a loss of a loved one. I had contemplated my own death methodically growing up. I always imagined as a child I was going to die at 21!

But why was the loss of my father so life changing?

It was not one light bulb moment of wisdom but a trickle effect of experiences and moments that flooded my soul. Motivating it to survive and awaken. It was sharing my father’s battle of cancer and accompanying my father through his personal journey. With hundreds of hospital and doctor visits, observing side effects from chemotherapy, radiation and medication. It was seeing my father cry, my mother cry, my husband cry and my children cry. It was seeing my father’s network of friends get smaller, his social life diminish and his happiness decline.

I witnessed the outer world of his life shrink to only a few friends calling in, a few relatives ringing and my childhood home becoming his prison. In those last few weeks he read religiously, he talked on the phone for hours, he stayed in bed longer in the mornings cuddling my mum, he completed odd jobs around the house, he stared out the window at the beautiful trees he had planted years before and he engaged actively and lovingly with his grandchildren.

It was my father’s attitude, actions and advice in those last few years/ last weeks that changed me. It was his strength that inspired me. It was the reality of how painful death is and his deep love for my mother that broke me.

But why was the loss of my father so life changing?

During my father’s last few years I was having a battle of my own, but one I only now realise in reflection. I was extremely exhausted from working as a teacher, mothering my young children and supporting my husband’s long hours at work (he had his own small business in the city). I was supporting my parents emotionally, entertaining friends and family and renovating a house. I was playing basketball, going to the gym and my diet was convenient and unhealthy. I binged on Netflix (ok was madly in love with Jamie on Outlander), stayed up extremely late and helped out at the school on the SCC and canteen. I was running on a treadmill in which I thought everyone else was doing and often even thought to myself they were doing it better.

Then my father passed and I crumbled. The two battles that were being fought in my life for years were lost. I was just hanging in there.  Maybe not everyone around me saw my defeat as I am sure I put up a strong front but a handful of friends cared enough to witness it.

My true friends surrounded me with love, support and understanding. They were a true blessing and they saved me. Their kind words, gestures, gifts, hugs, chats and meals rescued me. And to my surprise an unlikely hero also stepped up give me strength and reassurance. My best friend, my husband. x

But why was the loss of my father so life changing?

I finally realised in my life I only could give to those to whom gave me true love. And I also only had enough energy to give to a handful of friends, my husband, my mother and my children. I was becoming a motivated minimalist with my friends and family!

I had awakened to the truth that I needed to stop giving so much of my energy to socialising with a big network of extended family and friends and focus on those souls that were always there for me and truly loved me. I lost many friends over the years and some friendships that remained grew distant. I was stronger although fragile and I  learnt to say no often and step off the treadmill.

It was my introduction to  being a motivated minimalist.

 

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