If you have lost someone dear recently, you have my deepest sympathies.
The truth is, all of us have lost or will lose loved ones. The deeper the bond the greater the ordeal.
As a man, you need to be ready for death.
Dealing with it will fall to you. It’s not your fault if this doesn’t come naturally, as a society we tend to make death and dying off-limits.
Amongst men, we need to talk about it.
In the second appendix of SIPPING FEAR PISSING CONFIDENCE, I tell of how I learned the phrase, “The Pain Stops Here.” Access the book to get the full story.
Essentially, a friend of mine with three sons lost the youngest in a tragic accident. His family was devastated: wife under unimaginable pain, his remaining two boys lost and confused.
Despite his own grief, in short order he gathered his remaining family and had them share their memories and suffering, promising they’d be heard.
Then he told them, “The pain stops here.”
They kept their memories intact and moved ahead in honour of their lost family member. It would have been an insult to his life to do otherwise.
My friend saved his family from a lifetime of self-recriminating regret in that one instance of masculine leadership.
It was hugely difficult, everyone cried, but they did it.
His sons grew up and started families of their own. I see pictures on FB every year as he takes his wife on their annual ski holiday. Bless them.
Leadership at times like these is a task that falls to men, to you and me.
Aim to be the most reliable person at a funeral, JP said…
Ma went after a two-day vigil at her home, surrounded by nine adult children and her husband of sixty-two years.
I had the privilege of leading my siblings in prayer for much of those two days. My father gratefully said I was the “emergent leader” of the family.
Bless his heart. He died five years later of dementia.
A man who uses his power and love in service of himself and others finds meaning and freedom.
Seems to me we can prepare now for the inevitable.
And heal us a little too.
If I may, the following is what has helped me over the years…
That you exist over there while those whom you care for exist elsewhere is an inadequate way to describe what it is to be humans.
Fact is… we exist in each other.
I have things that I say nowadays I know came directly from my mother.
Kids scrape a knee and bleed a little and I always think (and sometimes say) “that’s the badness coming out.”
“No rest for the wicked” is another one of hers… It just pops out of me.
Or the old man.
I was putting my two kids in the car seven or eight years ago and once in their car seats I said, “Watch your fingers, watch your toes, canteen open, canteen close…” out of the blue.
It was just like when Dad was putting us nine kids in the ’67 Pontiac Parisienne, one up, one back, baby on a knee, no seatbelts.
The old man retired a Lt. Commander, and that little ditty was what they said on the navy ships to close the canteen. He used it to get us kids to keep our fingers away from the jambs whilst he was slamming the doors shut.
When I said that to my children, it was the first time I heard it in over 40 years. But it came out automatically. From somewhere deep within me.
In that very instance, I was my father who exists in me.
He was not and is not gone at all.
There’s a ton of things that I have picked up from those around me over the years. Even if those people live in another city and I will never likely see them again, do I grieve them?
Or do I just remember “Oh yes, I learned that from so and so….”
It is similar when you lose someone you were close to. You may be unsure of where you exist in them once they pass on, but they are still in you.
The people you care about and spend time with echo endlessly down through time in you and others left behind.
Assuredly too, they appear… here and there.
Like my father and mother often do, as well as countless friends, some still around and some who are gone, they speak… through me.
Because they are not gone at all. We exist in each other…
We might keep grief around out of loyalty to our lost one. This is misplaced pain. Not a chance our beloved would want a lifetime of regret for us.
Better to honour them by living the best life we can.
Last night I was speaking with my Missus about these things.
OK, it wasn’t supper table talk but later in the evening. I remarked on how this was the best of times for us, that the children and her and me were connecting magically each day. She agreed.
I’m a quite a bit older than she is, so I told her that even when I’m gone, she will always have these moments to look back on. She said it would make her miss me. I told her I’d always be with her.
That even now, when I’m out and about, shopping or running errands, her words and image come to my mind and heart. Around the house it’s the same. She is always in me.
We have learned plenty from each other. I told her I would not want her to suffer my loss and reassured her that I will always be with her. She will also know she got the very best of me. That was my gift to her.
Over the years I’ve had the privilege of explaining this viewpoint to many men to help in being able to lead his family in their time of need.
For this, falls to men.
If not you, then who?
I send you blessings of power and love.
true and free…
I do free calls with men (and sometimes women) to see if I can help and sometimes I agree to work with them.