Why were you inspired to do this?
There are moments in life that are inevitable… we will all die. We will all loose someone dear.
My experience may not be grander, nor more transcending than any… but for me, no other experience has inspired me more that to accompany my father in his ultimate battle against lung cancer.
The fight that a successful self-made man pulls on life’s greater challenge can be impressive. He just wanted to win! He stopped at nothing, enrolling every single member of the caring staff, our family, his employees, his friends to be part of the ‘’win against cancer’’ force! Each of us having to seal the deal with locked eyes and the most sincere handshake! I had never signed such a contract before…trust me…you want to deliver that task like no other mission in life made more sense!
Keeping the information about how terminal the disease was, having the deepest conversations about passions filling our lives and making sure we would follow his new life rules (including eating well, sleeping well and not being stressed!!!) was more demanding that it sounds… Being my father’s daughter, a real workaholic that shared her daddy’s drive to succeed but also some of his life unhealthy habits, I felt greatly challenged. Losing a mentor is life changing. Losing a father made me question not only my place in the world, but made me realize what a huge impact he had on my life.
One morning, we skipped his favorite trip to the hospital cafeteria to grab breakfast because he was too tired. It was so hard to watch this strong man having trouble eating without falling to pieces. As I was helping him with his eggs…he said in the softest voices I had ever heard…’’I can’t take this anymore. I have lost my quality of life. I don’t know how to win this.’’ I looked at him admitting to failure and told him how proud I was that he was my father. I shared how we thought he would have stopped fighting sooner, how his will has inspired us all.
That morning I must have done the most unselfish thing I had ever done. I told him to go. I told him to rest. And I told him I loved him dearly. He pasted that evening. He was 59.
What were 3 things you did to make this happen?
The first I had to learn was to become less selfish. My father had spent his life caring for us, and for the first time, we needed to return the favor. All the past arguments were left behind. I decided to start on a clean slate. I am proud I was able to do that.
I learned to listen. My father gave me the most precious advise when he was sick. It may only be because I was listening for the first time, really listening for once, that I realized how deep this babyboomer actually was!
I finally learned about respect. It does not matter what you wish for others... you have to accept how they will lead their life, and I learned to let go during these 11 months of struggle.
How did you feel once you had accomplished this?
I felt blessed that I could witness this difficult period of his life. Had he left abrubtly, I would have never learned about the kind of man he was and I would not have learned these valuable life lessons. This experience has made me more compassionate.
Additional notes and tips:
Nowadays, I have left my very demanding lifestyle to be ealthier and be more present to my family and friends. I finally understood that having ''one life to live'' means you should actually LIVE and not make yourself sick trying so hard to win all the time.