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What Death Has Taught Me About Transformation

I wrote this post way back in October, and it’s taken a few months to feel ready to release it to the world. In the spirit of courage and daring greatly, here it is today.

I lost my father ten years ago today.

It all started with that little knot of anxiety in the back of my throat that just wouldn’t go away. His anniversaries (i.e. his birthday, his death, my parent’s anniversary…) always hit me in new and unexpected ways. Tonight, I feel gross and unsettled, like my jaw is aching and I can’t focus. Now, I’m lying in my bed journaling, trying to get the lump out of my throat one of the only ways I know how.

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about those moments that change you.The kind that pop up in our collective cultural stories. Death is a theme here in these stories. Death of a loved one, it would seem, is life changing.

I spent a few years enveloped by shame over my father’s death, not because I had anything to do with it, or because I felt that I could have been there and the story would have ended differently, but because I didn’t feel devastated enough. To be sure, my father’s death hit me hard, brutally, viscerally. I have yet to feel that kind of pain again since, although the echoes of that loss still creep in like a quickly rising tide. I never got those carpe diem feelings- those ‘life is short so live it’ moments that drove me to see life differently and to Make It Count… my life just simply continued, without the fanfare.

When my father passed, I was on a year abroad program. Without going into the details, I immediately flew home, took part in all the ceremony and ritual that we surround ourselves in at times of death, and then two weeks later I made the decision, re-packed my bags and  was on a plane back to school.

I sat in my host family’s car as we drove through the rainy night and was overcome with a calm knowing –  an understanding that I was exactly where I needed to be.

My decision has always been part of the That Time My Dad Died story, but it wasn’t until tonight that I realized that this was That Life Changing Moment for me. And really, my life can be seen as a ripple effect outwards of this exact moment.

Today, when I think of losing my father, this moment is always the first to be conjured – not the fear, the anger, the sadness, the shame … but this private moment with myself. This connection to my own higher wisdom that everything was in it’s perfect place. That night, driving through those streets, is the closest I’ve ever felt to the Universe. I felt strength and an assurance in my own inner wisdom. A space opened inside of me that night that allowed the Universe and all its wisdom to rush in.

Over the years, this moment made it possible for me to grow into new ways to feel love, vulnerability, and fear.

That knowing has coloured the way I see life and my current journey in it. It’s become so much a part of who I am and how I make decisions- how I’m motivated in my life– that I forget that it wasn’t always with me. It is through this loss that I continue to push my edges. It is what has created space for me to step into myself and for this I am grateful.

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  1. Suze says:

    What a powerful and honest post. Thank you for writing, and then sharing it. It meant a lot to me reading it.

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