Monday, April 20, 2015

Lessons I've Learned Along the Way #15 (death/power)

Lessons I've learned along the way # 15
I can choose what has power over me.
In October, my dad's lung cancer diagnosis went from stage 3a, to stage 4- terminal cancer. This changed everything.
Plans changed. Emotions changed. Perspectives changed. 
Everything changed.
The quaint cemetery on the road to my parents house was one of the most surprising changes, for me. 
I used to love it. The stone walls... the wrought iron gate... the quintessential white church, across the road... everything was just charming.
But after the final diagnoses, it became my enemy.
I wanted my dad to live and reside in his home. While the cemetery wanted my dad to die and reside in it's ground. 
My mind gave the cemetery a personality. A desire. And a life (oh the irony). Every time we drove by it, it taunted me and I became angry at it.
After my dad passed, we held his burial there. The cemetery had won.
Now, it held even more emotional power over me.
My heart broke again and again, at the sight of it. How could this have happened? I couldn't believe my dad was there... And if I wanted to visit him, I had to go into it- to the place that stole my dad from us.
On Christmas day especially, my spirit battled. I felt as though visiting his grave was the right thing to do. I wanted to visit him. But I didn't.
Instead I had an epiphany that night.
I realized that I had been giving power to something that deserved no power.
My dad's body is buried in that graveyard. 
But my dad is not there.
His soul is in heaven. 
And his memories are everywhere else. 
In that moment, I took away the cemetery's emotional impact on me and replaced it with this perspective-
It does not matter where my dad's body is. I do not need to visit his resting place to feel him. He did not live in that cemetery. I have no happy memories of him there.
I have happy memories of my dad in his big brown chair, teasing the kids, carving the turkey, working on the tractor, eating breakfast with my mom, hunting, fishing, and laughing. Always laughing.
The things that remind me of my dad's LIFE deserve my emotional attention. Not the things that remind me of his death. 
The cemetery holds no power over me now.

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