Christmas will never be the same again for me, and for my family.
You see, it was one year ago on Christmas Eve, that my father walked into a hospital, and never walked back out.
Him and my mom were just going to a normal checkup for his chemo follow up on the morning of Christmas Eve.
All of us kids and grandkids were going to meet up at their house for Christmas Eve, like any other Christmas Eve prior.
Well, almost every other Christmas Eve prior. Two years ago my dad also went into the hospital during the holidays, ended up in a rehab facility worse off than when he first walked in to the hospital, and we spent Christmas visiting my dad at the rehab facility. I felt so bad for him because I knew he just wanted to spend it with us in the comfort of his own home.
But 1 year ago, when we arrived at my parents’ home later that morning and saw that nobody was home, we got a phone call from my brother who flew into town, saying that dad was in the hospital.
Apparently, the nurse said his face looked jaundiced at his checkup and that something looked wrong, and that’s how he ended up in the ER.
Even though, according to my mom, my dad seemed fine, in good spirits and was looking forward to being with all of us.
Well, they ended up going to the hospital anyways, for fear that something was really wrong.
Knowing how my dad felt about hospitals, and knowing what happened last year, I knew this couldn’t be good.
But there are times in your life, you have to let go of the things that you can’t control.
And although I felt this was not a good move, I let go.
My dad has stage 4 colon cancer for God’s sakes I wanted to shout! That’s what’s wrong with him. He’s been struggling for almost 2 years at that point getting poked and prodded with chemo and chemo drugs and suffering from all the effects of a treatment that was clearly doing more damage than good.
And all the while, continued struggles with arguing with my mom about what to eat, what not to eat, you need to eat, but I don’t want to, but you have to.
And all the while, cortisol levels shooting up sky high at a time that needed them to be at their lowest possible.
And all the while, serotonin and dopamine levels that needed to be present at this most critical time just kept dropping.
Could we NOT just for once, and maybe the last time, let him spend Christmas at home with his family?
But nope, FEAR won again. He spent another Christmas in the hospital.
And then, after a last stitch touch and go procedure to prolong his life for just a little longer, he managed to come out of it ok so they sent him to a rehab facility for a very brief time, until the next scare like a day later, and then he was back in the hospital again.
And then on January 2, 2020 he passed away.
The lessons I’ve learned from being a part of and observing this entire journey from diagnosis to my dad’s passing, for a period of almost 2 years, have been so great, I’ll need to write about them in a separate blog post.
However, here are a few of the bottom line takeaways:
1. Don’t let fear take control of your life, because fear will cause you to make decisions that don’t necessarily serve you well.
Yes, we should fear the virus so that we take the necessary precautions. But fear without knowledge and tools, that’s a dangerous combination.
2. Let go of things that aren’t within your control.
You can’t change people. You can’t change the way people think. And you can’t change an age old broken system overnight. However, you can change yourself, how you react to people, how you react to any situation, and you can take steps to make the much bigger change you desire.
3. Ignorance is not bliss.
I used to think being an empathetic, insightful and intuitive person was a curse. And I remember in my 20’s thinking, dang, I wish I was dumber, and more oblivious to things. Because when you’re dumb (or ignorant) life seems like it’s easier. Less stress. Less worries. Happy go lucky as they say.
But nope, ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance can actually be devastating to one’s health, one’s relationship, one’s livelihood.
Knowledge truly is power. And knowledge plus tools, guidance and a support system? That’s the GOLDEN ticket.
That’s how we level up EVERYTHING in our life that matters. Purpose. Passion. Relationships, Health. Wealth. Love. Happiness. Joy. That’s how we EVOLVE.
The new year is upon us. So for 2021, I challenge you to pivot in a way like you’ve never before. Or maybe you’ve started to at one point, but never saw it through. Maybe it’s losing weight. Maybe it’s having a better relationship with someone. Maybe it’s just being kinder to yourself.
Whatever it is, 2020 was the year that we all had to pivot. I like to believe that every circumstance has a silver lining. And for me, the silver lining of my dad’s passing was that he didn’t have to suffer anymore under his conditions during a time that would’ve been 10x more difficult.
And the silver lining of a global pandemic, well, that’s a HUGE sign that we, as humans, can now finally start to pivot in a way that’s better for ourselves (remember, take care of the things you CAN control and that starts with ourselves), our families, our communities and our world.