Rainbow of the Week: They Live On In Us

With Father’s Day around the corner, those of us who have lost our dads may be feeling a bit like a kid whose parents didn’t show up for the school play: all alone, with no one to cheer us on. But when you stop and think about it, our parents who have passed on to the next level live on in this world through us, their children.

So my guest blogger and rainbow in the clouds this week is my dad, a man who firmly believed in CAPITALIZATION for EMPHASIS. (Hey, if Coachella can bring Tupac back as a hologram, I can bring my dad back as a guest blogger.)  In packing to prepare for my upcoming move, I ran across a letter he wrote at a time when I was contemplating a job change:

“I’m sure you understand that there are TIMES in every person’s life that are DIFFICULT and it is necessary to ‘TOUGH THINGS OUT.’ That is ONE WAY OF GROWING. You have been blessed in many ways and you are on the way literally to having a GREAT, GOOD LIFE. Some things take a little longer, and patience can be a most important part of LEARNING and GROWING. Sometimes sacrifice is required also. Life can be quite a MIXTURE, but in the end it’s still pretty much what we OURSELVES make of it.”

I also found this note written in a book that he gave me:

“I like Earl Nightingale’s definition of SUCCESS: ‘The progressive realization of WORTHWHILE GOALS!’ The more I think about it, the more perfect I find it. Each word is significant. The POSSIBILITY THINKER asks: ‘Where will I be 5, 10, 20 years from now?’ and answers, ‘That depends on the decisions I make TODAY and the goals I CHOOSE as the LEADER OF MY OWN DESTINY!”

Since I can’t give dad a Father’s Day gift, I’m doing two things to carry on his legacy. First, in an upcoming series called “Path to Purpose”, I’ll explore dad’s message of being the leader of your own destiny and making the most of your life. Second, to honor the man who put a roof over my head, I made a donation in his name to the St. Bernard Project, which builds homes for New Orleans families displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

If you’re lucky enough to spend Father’s Day with your dad, give him an extra hug for me (a really really good one, please). If your dad has moved on from this world, find a way to let the best parts of him shine brightly through you.

Epitaph For Mom

Sunday is Mother’s Day. My mom died from stomach cancer nearly 35 years ago, when I was 14. My sister Martha made a documentary, called Epitaph for Mom, about my how Mom managed to live with cancer, and how she not only didn’t let it defeat her, but used it to make her a better person with a more meaningful life. I almost referred to her “courageous battle” with cancer, but she wouldn’t want it described that way. That’s how Mom was.

Watching Epitaph For Mom never fails to bring tears to my eyes. Not just because I’m sad that Mom is gone, but much more because I love feeling her love again. She’ll always be a rainbow in my clouds.

My friends, sisters, sisters-in-law, nieces and others of you who are mothers are the same for your children. I’ve watched you be sources of completely selfless love, even in the face of tantrums, whether from toddlers or teens. Only that kind of love could give someone the strength, when told she has 6 months to live, to buy new pots and pans out of concern that no woman would want to marry her husband and raise her children with an old, dingy set of cookware. Yes, that’s a true story about Mom, although she lived longer than 6 months and got to enjoy her new Farberware.

My mother’s day gift to you is my mom (and for my family members, our mom or grandmother), in Epitaph For Mom, courtesy of my wonderful sister Martha. The video is about 25 minutes long. As an added bonus, please enjoy the 70’s fashions and hair styles!

P.S. For Mother’s Day, in memory of Mom, I made a donation to Operation Gratitude. Since she met Dad during WWII when she was a nurse and Dad was stationed stateside, I think she would’ve liked that.