Today would have been my father in laws birthday had cancer not taken him from our lives.
One minute he was there and the next, it seems like we started mourning him. We haven’t stopped missing him and I doubt we ever will.
Although I didn’t know him as well as I wish I could have, I am so grateful for the legacy he left behind in his son. I think I can see him in many of the things my husband says and does. And I think I got a preview of what kind of man he was when I see how D treats me.
I wasn’t sick when he died and so he never got to see how well his son takes care of me or how he comforts me. I can’t help think he would be proud. In fact I say that to him, quietly, when I am alone, and somewhere in my mind I feel better for saying …”thank you…” and “…you would be so proud of him…”
It occurs to me that how we treat people who are sick and challenged is a direct reflection of what we are taught from our parents. If we are rude, uncaring, criticizing, intolerant or lack empathy, it generally means we saw that behaviour and reaction from our mentors.
I think it’s a large part of the reason that I have had such a difficult time coming to terms with my own physical limitations as my parents were not at all sympathetic or tolerant of anyone who were not physically capable or strong. Even women had to be able to be hard working and work long hours. Anything else was just not acceptable.
Early on I realised that the reason I said such unkind words about my illness and condition is because they were the thoughts and feelings that were planted in my mind at a young age.
On the other hand my husband grew up in a family of teachers and even supporting learning disabled children. It was common place to help handicapped, autistic, disabled and high needs children. I can see how empathic and tolerant it made him.
He never judges me and never looks down on me. He is kinder than I am at any given moment. For this I am eternally grateful.
Some of the hardest things about living with these diseases is coping with the legacy of what our childhood has done. Sometimes we have to relearn and ‘raise a new child’ from stripping down the old.
But occasionally, rarely, you encounter a person who has done a wonderful job in raising a loving, empathic, kind and supportive child… Like my father in law… And it makes all the difference in the world!
Thank you John.
Your legacy lives on…