I was never as close to my father as I was to my mom – probably because he and I are so very much alike: stubborn, a bit bossy and fiercely independent – but sitting right in front of me was an opportunity to change my relationship with my father, to bring my strength and inner wisdom to form a new bond with him. It was this perspective that helped me get through the tough times of missing my mom and helping my father cope with his loss as well.
Over the past year, my father and I have maneuvered through the estate tax return, countless appointments with attorneys and CPAs; we’ve also shared special memories and grieved together over the things we missed most about mom. Our relationship used to be butting heads and agreeing not to disagree and yet here we were working together in tandem to ensure his paperwork and trusts were in order. The old parent relationship of “father knows best” had shifted to a peer to peer relationship; my father finally seeing me as a capable adult – or maybe it was just me accepting the fact that I am a capable adult? I found myself looking forward to daily check in calls to him or just sitting and spending time with him in companionable silence. It was the latter activity that made me realize that while my relationship with my mom had thrived in verbal communication and banter, I had expected the same from my father, yet that was not his style. His communication style was quieter, more reflective and deliberate. Once I opened my eyes and recognized this difference, I was able to open my heart and connect with him: we didn’t need words, just being together spoke volumes.
“Your father is lucky he has you to help him” is a quote I hear often, and my father tells me daily “I’m lucky to have you around to help me” – and while this may be true, in my heart and soul I know I am the lucky one.
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” – Maria Robinson