The process of grieving is a journey. One that comes in waves, hits deep and leaves you reeling in it’s wake. There are days when you forget that your heart is broken and you are filled with joy because you are surrounded by those you love and are doing the work that you love.
And then there are days that the sadness settles in so deeply you wonder if you’ll ever be the same again.
And you won’t be. I won’t be. This is the nature of life. It goes on.
And we must find a way to embrace that. I must find a way.
I can hear him saying it now… “You just have to get on with it Finola”.
He said that to me during one of our quiet visits together.
I wanted to know how he was dealing with how the Parkinson’s was affecting him. I wanted to know how he was coping.
I wanted to know how his heart was. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have your body break down around you as your mind remained intact and slowly but surely every thing you enjoyed when your life was vibrant slowly ebbed away.
He could no longer read because the muscles in his eyes had declined from the Parkinson’s. He could no longer hear our conversations too well because his hearing had declined from years of being on train engines. He could no longer speak too well because he had lost his swallow with Parkinson’s. He couldn’t eat or drink. He couldn’t walk.
And still he smiled… He smiled a smile that reached his eyes because that was all he could do.
And that’s when I realised his Courage.
His courage to continue to lighten our load in spite of it all.
This was his gift to us. One of them.
This is his Legacy. Or part of it.
MARCH 2018 – 3 Month’s before Dad’s Passing
In March 2018, three months before Dad passed away, I attended and participated in a workshop to celebrate International Women’s Day. The workshop was called “It’s all about YOU!” and was facilitated by the wonderful Dee Hutchinson.
One of the exercises on that day was about discovering your values. It was a deep exercise that made you distill right down to one single word that expressed your core value.
Of course, you don’t know that when you start.
When you start, you’re given pages and pages of single words and you have to choose just 20 to express your values. Everything you believe in. Everything you hold dear.
Those 20 are a struggle and you’re sighing and grumbling and laughing simultaneously about having to make those choices.
Step 2 comes when you have to halve those choices to just 10 single words…
Then you have to halve them again and again until ultimately you are forced to choose just one.
The end result ultimately shocks… because invariably you didn’t realise that was your core value.
You can declare values with your head and they will make sense to everything and everyone around you… logically…
But when the head is no longer in play and you can only make choices based on heart or gut you discover something deeper because that’s where truth lives.
In that exercise I discovered Courage.
August 2018, 2 Month’s after Dad’s Passing
In August 2018, I did an interview on Dublin City FM with the lovely Danielle Serpico. We were talking about coping with adversity and the highs and lows in life. I spoke about some of the highs and lows in my own life and the tools I used to push through.
And then we spoke about Dad. It was tough on me and I know that Danielle sensed that too.
I found it difficult to speak towards the end of the interview.
Danielle offered a suggestion to help at this time.
It was to keep speaking about Dad and in that way, we could keep him alive in our lives.
Towards the end of the interview, she asked me one last question.
“Tell us the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your Father… “
I only had strength for one word…
I didn’t know that was what I was going to say.
Like before it came straight from the heart because that is where truth lives.
This is his legacy… Courage in the face of all.
A quiet courage that lightens every load.
A courage that reaches the eyes in a smile that twinkles.
Thank you, Dad.
It’s time to move on.
I share this story with you, not as a vanity piece but as something that has purpose.
On the one hand I needed to write it to be able to move on because I haven’t written anything since I shared his Eulogy. And Dad would have wanted me to “just get on with it”.
I also share it because as entrepreneurs, we run our businesses and take care of our customers even when it’s hard to keep going. We have to. It’s who we are as entrepreneurs. This piece is in celebration of that fact.
For all those times, when it is just so hard to keep going. We do.
Being an Entrepreneur takes courage. And we have it.
I want to acknowledge that.
So, if you are an entrepreneur and are hitting a low point right now.
Remember you are not alone. We are with you.
Take courage in that fact. And keep going.