Today is always a weird day for me. My dad passed away 9 years ago this very weekend. However, I didn’t talk to him for 15 years prior. To say I had a difficult relationship with my father is a mild understatement. It was the epitome of challenging, and often times extremely abusive, (physically, mentally and emotionally). I cut my father out of my life a couple of times … and, at the age of 22 I parted ways from him for good.
I am at peace with my decision. That’s not what makes today so weird. I forgave him years ago, reclaimed both my peace and personal power, and never once regretted the decision on I made so many years ago. The part that was tough for me, as I grieved the loss of my dad a long, long time ago … was grieving the presence of someone who had very little impact otherwise. Aside from the ripples he created in my family, there was little said when he passed.
His obituary was one of the bleakest I’d ever read. It was a few basic facts, yet nothing about the man, the human who lived for almost 62 years on this earth. I didn’t know then how much that would ultimately affect me.
Fast forward to two years later (after my dad has passed) when I sat by the bedside of my uncle, who I was extremely close to, in the ICU for 11 days, often 15-18 hours a day, and watched him transition to death. The walls came crumbling down …
It’s actually quite a beautiful things to witness the journey from life to death. There is a sweet peace and tranquility to it. As hard as it was, it walls was one of the biggest gifts I could have received. Talk about putting LIFE into perspective. My uncle at the ti me was almost 65.
The fall came when I came out of that space and start to reflect more on my father’s death. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Here was this man, this person, that very little people cared left. In fact, very little people even know. I found myself struggling with the idea that someone could be on this earth with no impact. Yes, I know he had an impact once and my family … I meant outside of that space.
I couldn’t comprehend how someone could waste their life in such a manner. To be so selfish, so narcissistic, so self-absorbed to not know the meaning of real LOVE, to not know what it felt like to serve and offer compassion, kindness and grace to o there, to leave an imprint. Something inside me woke up during that really difficult time in my life. I kind of went “dark” … I shut friends out, I went into hiding and I asked to be left alone so I could processed the emotions and heaviness of what I was experiencing.
Then, as any journey that takes through the path most meaningful, I found the light. I can’t remember how or exactly when, but the fog lifted. I had a profound sense of clarity I’d never experienced before … a fire started to burn inside of me. I had one of those life-changing defining moments that you never can go back from …
I found my truth!
In that awakening, I realize something … not only was I to create a living legacy for who I am, I also was to create a legacy on behalf of my dad and generations through my family. I was to bring a level of love that wasn’t present in some of their lives. I was to be a catalyst for healing, for change, for connection.
There are days when I need to remind myself on my why … I always come back to a deep desire that drives me to want to eradicate a cycle of fear that continues to be handed down as a generational legacy. And, ultimately I want to honor my father, and those in my family lineage who never knew how to honor themselves, love themselves … or anyone else.
As I’ve said before, “God gave me my childhood so that one day I would step into my purpose.”
I thank my father for gifting me a portion of my purpose. For showing me the other side of love, compassion, kindness and grace. For being the biggest blessing I have received in my life as he helped shape they way i show up now. I look just like my dad, and I have many of his traits … I just choose to use them for good (as my mom always use to tell me). For everything we do is a choice.
And, I thank my dad for helping me make my choice, as he modeled the opposite. And, that has been the biggest blessing and gift in my life!
For me, today is a different kind of celebration … it’s one where I honor my moment of truth, the work I have been asked to do, the trials, the struggles and the challenges that got me here. I feel an ever deeper closeness to my mom, my sister and my brother today, as well. I know the path we crossed to get here. And, I take time to reflect back on how far we’ve all come.
I especially honor my mom, who sacrificed so much and gave us all the love my father couldn’t, today. And, I celebrate my brother who is a wonderful, loving and kind dad. I love watching him live out his dreams of being a father!
And, i’d like to wish all the amazing dad, stepdads, and single moms who had to pay the role of dad a beautiful celebration of all that you are. Thank you for loving your kids, for protecting them, for cherishing them. Thank you for showing us what fatherhood is all about. I honor you all.
Happy Father’s Day!
With much love, Candy
Candy Barone is a leadership development expert, trainer & executive coach. She also is an international speaker, author, and the CEO & Founder of You Empowered Strong, LLC.