MICHAEL FOWLER, doing one of his favorite things, playing the piano for guests at a party
This time of year is always hard for me. We brought my father home to die on April 29th, 2011, after a prolonged illness.
I watched my mother speak to him gently the day before, sitting by his bed in the rehab centre, holding his hand. I don’t know what exactly she said, but I know it was tender, I know it was loving, and I know it was giving him permission to go.
We set him up in the living room, where we could tend to him, talk to him, watch over him. And on May 4th, early in the morning, he exhaled for the last time.
My body remembers all of this, and each year, this week brings about a sadness and fatigue, and I’m quick to tears. I turn towards it, try to be kind to my body with extra sleep, sunshine, good coffee.
For my heart, I surrender to the feelings that come up, and welcome them. They remind me of my father, my love for him, how much I miss him, and how grateful I am to have had a father like him.
The feelings evolve each year. As I get older and have more life experience, I understand my father more and more, and can appreciate his experience and life more and more.
I think of this quote from Henry Scott Holland, they are words I try to live by, to keep my father present and alive in my life.
“Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.”
His death brought me to who I am now: a grief and loss coach, a filmmaker exploring grief, and a founding member of Table 11, a CIC aiming to support those who are grieving.
Something to journal about:
What are some of the things you do to keep your loved one present in your life?
How has their passing shaped your choices?
Love and comfort to you all