Ten years ago, almost to the minute of my publishing this, my father Tony took his last breath.
His death changed the course of my life.
I asked myself questions I hadn’t bothered to ask at that point.
Who was I?
Where was my life headed?
Was I happy?
Was I living my life according to my preferences?
Was I a good person?
I chewed over all of those questions for some time. I made some changes in my life. I ended a relationship. I moved across the country. I got serious about my business.
While my parents had not supported me financially in over a decade, I remember feeling as though I would be performing the rest of my life without a net. This feeling was an odd mix of fear and liberation. I was on my own now, for real.
My father’s death pushed me all the way into manhood.
Looking back, a decade later, I appreciate what that experience did for me.
Three days ago, my wife gave birth to our son. She did it completely naturally — no drugs, scalpels or interventions. While she did all the work, being right next to her through the labor process and birth was an intense experience.
Yet, I felt quite calm throughout it all. At peace. Knowing that all would be well. That patience and positivity rule the day.
After the birth, I realized how much I learned from sitting with my dad and watching him die over a week in late August, ten years ago. I know that I can be with the most intense feelings in life and still be present.
A final gift from my father that still keeps giving.
As a bonus, I should add that my father’s spirit even had the awareness to hold on a few extra hours and not to pass on my birthday.
The end of August has always felt like the end of the year to me.
A time to celebrate, reflect, and dive into the new year.
My birthday. The anniversary of my dad’s passing. And now my son’s birthday.
The circle keeps on turning for all of us.