Today remembers the 12th year since my father’s passing from his body. And I, celebrate his life, every year. Every year, I create a small ritual or celebration in which I remember my dad’s life and all the things I am grateful for. I remember what he taught me while living on this planet, how much I love him, and I remember to enjoy life, just as he did, and more.
I didn’t always approach my father’s passing in this manner. In fact, in the beginning, I festered in anger and disgust. I had my reasons to as well and almost anyone would have said that I was justified in doing so. Before moving on from physical, my dad left some unfinished business that my family is still feeling the repercussions of. So the first 2 to 3 years were spent actively dealing with feelings of anger and sadness.
I did not like this feeling. It was not helping me feel good and I could not move on from where I was. In response to this awareness, I decided to work on it and get through my grief.
I am no stranger to personal and spiritual development, so I started working with a fellow NLP practitioner friend of mine, and with her, I worked through my feelings towards my father. I spoke to him over and over again, I discovered how I felt and what I was thinking. I eventually realised that holding on to what upset me about what my father did in his physical life, wasn’t going to help me heal and move on from the pain I was feeling. Instead, I found myself experiencing understanding, realising that maybe my dad did the best he could with what he had and knew in life. I started thinking that maybe he really thought he was doing the right thing for his children, tangled with the complexities of his ego of course. A very human trait. I started to let go of what I expected of him as my father and started to fill myself up with more forgiveness and helpful perspective.
I learned a lot throughout this experience and I realised that I had become grateful to him for the experience his passing gave me. For the lessons I was learning about myself and about life in general and how I wanted to and didn’t want to live my life. This sense of gratitude spread throughout my life and about 5 years after his transition, after further personal development, I was inspired to, instead of grieving his death, to celebrate his life.
So I contacted a few people who understood me and were open and willing to play with me in this way. Celebrating a person’s life the way I do is afterall not yet the common response to the “death” of a loved one. I explained to them what I wanted to do. That I wanted to have a small fire ritual were I would burn a letter I wrote to my father. I can’t remember what I wrote exactly, but I do recall offering my friends the opportunity to write down some happy memories they had with someone who’d passed and release it into the fire. I didn’t expect anyone to go along with me on this, but given the opportunity, I found that almost everyone present at this first celebration was willing to participate. I was pleasantly surprised and also, not attached to their response. This was my decision to celebrate my father’s life, and I had no guilt, shame or embarrassment colouring my decision. This was for me and my father and our relationship. I was happy to share it.
Every year since then, I have created small celebrations. I’ve put dinners together, I’ve shared rituals with friends, I’ve even held a concert in celebration of his life.
Now, 12 years later, I can honestly say, with full belief in my experience, that my relationship with my father has developed, and continues to. That my father himself has also grown and is no longer the memory I have of him of when he was still in body. I believe with all my being that my father still lives and that he is with me. I sense his presence almost daily. I communicate with him, I dream about him and he guides me. He tells me how much he loves me, that I’m a beautiful being and that he’s proud that I’m his son.
So in letting go of the idea that my dad was dead, I found the opportunity to continue my relationship with him. Although I do wish to be able to hug him with my body at times, and wonder what it would be like to introduce him to partners and what he would be like as a grandfather, I am honestly grateful that my father passed when he did. He has taught me so much from his perspective that I doubt he would have been able to teach me from this physical plane. Our relationship is awesome and I am blessed to call him, presently, my daddy.