Letting Go. Going Forward.

Urn by Sandi Finney. www.holepottery.com
The last few months have been difficult. My father went to the hospital on June 1 and stayed five weeks. Extensive stage small cell lung cancer. He went home for only four days before returning to the hospital where he took a lightening fast dive toward death. He passed away on July 14 with all four of his adult children at his side. I held his hand as he took his last breath. That was a Wednesday. By Saturday we were standing by his casket and on Monday I picked up his ashes. Just this past Monday.

I now have the oddest feeling. I'm 43 and parentless. Yeah, I realize I'm not the first person on the face of the planet to be there. I know that lots and lots of people younger than I can say the same. But it's still odd. It just is.

The other odd feeling that gnaws at me: this is a time of transition, of opportunity. I'm keenly aware of other "passings" in my life. None are as monumental as saying a final goodbye to Dad. Yet they are there.

For example, on the day of my father's death, I learned that a professional group I've been committed to for nearly six years is folding. Those group meetings had become a ritual in my life and my business self grew a great deal during those years. The group and its rotating line up of members had become a part of me, especially the business me.

In much smaller examples, two of our pets died the same week as my father. My windshield cracked and I had to replace two tires.

And another business organization I've staked much of my identity in has presented me with a proposition that I think I'll refuse. I cannot make a strong business case for moving forward with it and my gut tells me that it's time to let it go.

Let it go. Let go.

I'm certainly learning a lot about that these days. About impermanence. Nothing lasts forever. Not one thing. Whatever I hold dear can be gone in a moment. The very thought makes my head burn, though less and less with each passing event that reinforces it.

I'm grieving. But I won't sit alone with my grief for long. I'll move forward in some yet undetermined way, listening to my inner wisdom and investigating with a curious air anything that interests me. I'll follow that strong set of compass headings that are my values and my larger sense of Self. I'll relish love and joy. I'll embrace knowledge, creativity, possibilities, connectedness, the human spirit, friends, family. I'm sure I'll spend a fair amount of time in introspection. I'll nourish my soul and seek inspiration. And I'll look to meaningfully serve people who need whatever I can provide.

Really, it's the most fitting tribute I can think of for my father – to go on living in each moment as beautifully, compassionately and strongly as I can.

Someone recently asked what traits I got from my father. Go back two paragraphs, start at "I'll embrace" and read to the end of the paragraph. That's what I got.