“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” ~Malcolm S. Forbes
“They’re bringing in Hospice to be with your dad,” he said.
“You aren’t doing enough,” is what I heard.
I raced to the nursing home the night before my father passed, leaned up against the wall outside his room, and called my best friend as I sobbed.
“Hospice is there for you and your dad, Bets. They’ll sit with him when you can’t be there.”
The guilt was overwhelming. I wanted to be there for him all the time. And I didn’t want to share my time with him with a stranger in the room.
So many swirling emotions and thoughts came crashing down as I cried into the phone. I guess I was feeling regrets.
I regretted letting months pass between visits. That was it. It didn’t matter that there were years that I lived out of state or that were filled with caring for my growing family; he was my father and I felt like I hadn’t done enough.
Sunday night, two days later, in another hospital waiting room for a different loved one, trying to rest on a very hard and cold couch, I had time to reflect in the quiet darkness.
What was the truth?
I reviewed my whole life with my dad. As I searched for and sifted through memories I found a gem that cleared away all doubt.
No matter what, he’d always thanked me for what I’d given him or done for him.
We both knew I could have done more. But he never said so. He was grateful, thankful, appreciative,and sensitive to my circumstances. In fact, I’d never heard him complain about a lack of visits or help from family and friends.
I’m not sure that I can adequately share with you the peace that thought gives me- that in the face of self-doubt and feelings of failure, I was accepted and always had been.
I’d shared an imperfect life with my dad, neither of us doing enough for the other, we both believed.
But I’d never felt a lack from him, and in the end I knew he’d never felt a lack from me.
What a gift.
I was enough.
And that, my friends, is precious to me. If you knew my dad and were able to see how some of the choices he’d made effected the quality and course of his life, you might see a myriad of possibilities of greatness dashed to pieces.
But this one trinket that I found started to shine when the lights went out. It had been gathering strength as it wove itself in and out of the life that we shared, waiting for the perfectly important moment to be unveiled.
It turns out it was his greatest gift to me…
…because it was the one that I needed.