“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” (Kahlil Gibran)
These words gave me a great deal of comfort when my dad died two years ago. They summed up how it felt to lose someone who brought you great joy in your life. That joy is made all that much more poignant by the fact that it is now gone.
I’ve been struggling with a multitude of feelings this past week. The simplest things, like going to the Hallmark store to buy a card for a coworker, left me feeling morose instead of uplifted. I was hit by the fact that I would have been, in the past, buying all sorts of cards – a birthday card for my dad’s birthday today, a mother’s day card for my mom, an anniversary card for them both – and I felt my loss profoundly. This time of year is a tricky one to navigate – lots of significant days to notice what has changed. I miss my dad, I miss my parents, I miss my sister. It comes to me in waves and I am reminded how fresh the wounds still are. No surprise there, really. Just a part of what it takes to get through this maze of grief.
The card I bought was for our office administrator. Wednesday was the Office Professional’s day, and in recognition of that, I took her to lunch and had a card for people to sign in appreciation. One of the things I have done for the past several years is to buy a gift for each of the administrators on our floor. It is a small gesture of gratitude for the work they do – even though they don’t work directly for me, they are always helpful and pleasant. One of them asked me why I do it – why do I go out of my way to do that for them? And I thought about it and I realized that it was my dad’s doing. He taught me to take the time to reach out to people and make the human connection. He told me that when you do, you never know what it might mean to that person and more importantly, what it can do for you. I explained that to her and was reminded again of the legacy my dad left. It is one way I can honor him through carrying on his tradition and it feels good to continue to plant those seeds of caring whenever I can.
Today, I saw some glorious trees bursting into their spring time best, glowing from the sunlight that hit them. The sky behind them was dark and stormy, and the contrast of light and dark made the trees look especially lovely and vivid. It struck me then – it is the contrast that made them so. Light and dark, joy and sorrow – it takes one to make the other stand out. I am lucky to feel the way I did about my father and I miss him dearly. He lives on in the seeds of kindness he sowed and I will continue on in kind, in honor of his memory.