They say that there are no coincidences and so I always try to find meaning to life’s events. My father-in-law recently passed away on the same day as my father (three years apart) to the day, February 14. As I search to understand why this may have occurred, I land on the same explanation; they passed away on Valentine’s Day because they were both so loved. Now they are in heaven together catching up with each other and smiling down upon us. What a lovely thought. I truly believe with all of the sadness, we must find some bright spots.
Both were very different men in many ways, but they had more similarities than I even realized. They were deeply devoted to their family, incredibly hard working, voices of reason, confident in their beliefs, honest and honorable, full of integrity, highly respected and maintained very private lives with a few close friends. Growing up in a different generation (and different cultures), they both were also men who did not demonstratively show their emotions, but were gentile and sensitive souls. At the end of their lives, each of them expressed tender moments of reflection, mostly about their family and how they wished they could have done more and given more of themselves. As caretakers, they just wanted us all to be okay. And, we are because of everything they DID versus everything they might have thought they DID NOT provide to us.
When my daughter learned about the recent news of her second grandfather’s passing, she understandably bawled, feeling a little more empty with this new void in her life. Her tears streamed for a long time and as you try to find words to comfort your child (no matter the circumstance), my words were clear and unwavering: “It’s good to feel.” It’s good to have empathy and compassion. It’s good to feel sad and upset. Feeling is an important part of healing.
At times, you must release to get to a better place. The vulnerability is not always comfortable or easy to experience. However, as I look back on their lives, my father and father-in-law had a lot to share in the end. I realize that I must channel that daily to be more mindful to express love and positive emotions frequently and visibly—and just to be comfortable with sharing more. Life gets away from us and we are hurried and engrossed with all the things we need to do, but it’s important to make sure we take time to feel and show how we feel. It is by opening our hearts that we can invite more love, feel more love and inspire endless possibilities. All of us are more alike than we probably realize. If we all took a little extra time to share kind words and gratitude, we can change the way we feel about ourselves and how others feel about themselves. It can be a very powerful shift in how to live better.
As we reflect on what is lost, we must also find things we can gain. So let loss provide greater clarity to live life fully without regrets. No holding back on the warmth and love. Invite it all in without being scared of rejection or worrying about putting ourselves out there. Use your time well and live with purpose and intention. And, celebrate all the little things along the way.
With that, a dear friend of mine gave me the idea of YES DAY. Her dad passed away too and because he was the type of man who never said NO, she and her kids coined YES DAY. It can be a birthday (or the day of their passing), but pick a day that has some meaning when you can throw out all the rules. Eat ice cream for breakfast, splurge and indulge in something decadent and remember how glorious life is. You don’t need a lot of money to make it happen. YES DAY lives within our hearts and imaginations so make it fun and memorable.
So every Valentine’s Day, we will feel double love, remembering these great men fondly and honoring their memories.
YES you can too find your way.
In life there are no coincidences.