Someone once said, "you may not know how long you will live. But it is certain that you will die."
Dr. King once said, “if you don’t know what you are willing to die for, you are not fit to live."
While any family would want to see and experience their father or parent living the longest life possible, that should and must be harmonized with what's best for our parent, first. My family has decided to celebrate our dad’s 89 plus years of contribution, work and love on his planet, and this is precisely what we will do in coming days, weeks, months and years to keep his memory and legacy alive. Celebrate our dad. Knowing, even better, that our dad is now with Our Father.
The 10 days that followed my father’s passing were a challenge, but not for the obvious reasons. I had made peace with my dad’s ultimate passing some time ago, but it became an unexpected emotional drain insuring that his home-going remained squarely focused on him, and the amazing life that he lived. People in pain respond in very different ways.
Yesterday, we held a Memorial service for dad in Los Angeles, which was beautiful and thankfully, absolutely focused on him and the great life he lived. It was a celebration of life, and an acknowledgment that we will all transition. That my dad - had been Promoted. Gone on to a better place. And it was fitting that the service happened after a rare rainfall in Los Angeles, as rainbows only follow storms. You cannot have a rainbow, without a storm first.
The fact is, dad’s passing actually brought our family back together in a way few other occasions over three decades has. We all came together, in part because we had too, and the bonus was that we all got reconnected too. My sense of ‘immediate family’ just got expanded by multiples of love, and it is a beautiful thing.
The fact is, as author Deepak Chopra has said, “we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings, having a human experience…” Meaning, this life was never about the physicality of our lives that we place so much importance in, and on.
Everything that is important in our lives — everything -- lives in the arena of ‘none-physical tough and feel.' Hope, love, passion, compassion, joy, intimacy, trust, vulnerability, sympathy, empathy, authenticity, and so on.
What I loved about my dad most, was his ‘spirit,’ which speaks directly to this last point, or lessons learned from life and death.
We obsess on the physical things of life, when it is the emotional, spiritual and ‘feeling’ things, which matters most. And it is this aspect of my dad’s life-force, which will be with me forever.
He was in me.
He is in me.
He will forever be with me.
And everyone he ever touched, and interacted with also.
Making peace with death — whether it be the death of a parent or loved one, or the death of one's own physical life — is the only true path to freedom, and real peace in our lives. If we cannot do this, we will forever be trapped in a web of fear and lack.
The best way to honor someone you love, is to go on living your life to the fullest — knowing that they are forever part of your spiritual DNA. They are with you, always.
My father, will be with me always. And now, I have to make his living legacy real — by living my life, and doing the work that adds value to the lives of others too.
This sort of death, is always facilitating new birth. The expanding circle of life.
Rainbows after storms. We cannot have a rainbow, without a storm first.
Let's go. Dad, I will make you proud.
John Hope Bryant, son