It wasn’t until my mid-twenties (the last five years) that I really got to see my dad for who he was, and I am grateful on many levels for the quality times we spent together.
My father, Robert, recently passed on 9/1/2012 at 10am EST from liver disease. I was not present for his death, although I wanted to be. When I got the call from my mom, my wife and I immediately had a “moment of silence” to honor his life and death. During that time I saw my dad in my mind’s eye “far off” and surrounded by many beings clothed in white and shining. I realize that this may sound fanciful, and I acknowledge that this is my subjective experience – but this is what I saw. I asked what he wanted to be remembered for at his memorial, and I “heard” these words, “Diligently find your meaning and purpose in life and walk in it.”
When I talked to my dad’s sister she had the same feeling that he had completed what he was here to do. She recounted that when her mother and father passed that there were some experiences she had that served as a form of verification that her mother or father was still “around” within the first week or so of their passing. However, with her brother (my dad) she felt that he was ‘out of here and not looking back.’ My wife, Kelly, corresponded the same thing to me when we finished our “moment of silence.”
My dad was born in 1940, and by the age of 18 he was already making more money than his dad. He had a gift for electronics, and this gift came from a natural curiosity to understand how things worked. As a child, when he would get toys he would take them apart to see how they worked. He was very inquisitive, figuring out how TV’s worked, chemistry, building models, telescopes, microscopes, and eventually electrical work. This drive and curiosity to discover how external things work and function, has been a drive for me too, however, my drive has been to discover how internal things work and function. For example, how thoughts and emotions impact the body, or to discover how someone represents their model of the world through language and behavior, or how to integrate our spiritual potential into our current lives. Another gift that I gleaned from my dad was his ability to pick up on things quickly, and to be mindfully perceptive about current surroundings.
Anyone who knew Robert, or as he was usually called…Bob, knew him as a lover – as someone who greatly cared for the well-being of others, and who despised unjust authority enacting itself against the well-being of others. My dad rarely openly talked about his spiritual life, at least with me, yet there were times when he shared some of his experiences and insights about life. My dad was the type of man who could be vulnerable enough to allow his emotion to pierce through, so one could witness his heart. He loved mystery, science-fiction, and things beyond the mundane. He loved to help others in significant ways through his time and resources. He loved to make people laugh, and going through the old photos it became obvious that he was most happy when he was entertaining and serving others. He volunteered at Habitat for Humanity for years, was Santa for children in the local community, he also comforted the local veterans, and helped to raise money for the local community. He will be missed by many people, but most importantly he was not afraid to take risks in life and because of this he found a sense of fulfillment and joy in living. As a result of his passing, I have found an invigorated sense within myself to become even more integrated and congruent, because I want my dad to be proud of me – and since geographic location is no longer an issue the incentive to “walk in it” has become a positive pressure.