In 7th grade, my best friend’s father died at a very young age. The dad was in San Diego at the La Costa Wellness Center, flew home, and had a massive heart attack. The quintessential story of here today and gone tomorrow. I recall countless hours of hanging out with my pal and listening to a continuous loop of Wish You Were Here. To this day, that tune resides at the top of my all-time favorites list.
While satisfying my endless addiction to fitness over the weekend, Mr. Gilmour’s classic vocals played during my stair-stepping at the gym. It always stirs up some type of emotion and on this day it made me think of my own father’s death. I obviously wish my dad was here, but he is not. The passage of time has healed the wound. Today, I can look back and remember the good times instead of being pulled down as a victim of loss.
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.
Loss is a fact of life. Our ability to control loss, like so many other things, is futile at best. The Camino taught me how to let go of people. Here is a passage from A Million Steps:
Day 13 began early on a cool morning. One of my first thoughts was about all the friends I had met along the trail and how many times I was forced to say goodbye. These endings were very difficult but became a frequent reality on the Camino. On my path of life, I am hoping to learn from and practice this lesson. All relationships on the Way, as all relationships in our mortal lives, come to a natural or an unnatural end. Although I may feel regret or loss, my new attitude is to view the time together as a cherished moment in my life instead of tormenting myself with the reality of the inevitable ending.
By no means am I suggesting that this is a simple process. Worlds do fall apart, but when our knees buckle into the floor, humility and gratitude concoct a perfect recipe for personal growth. Undissolved pain can last for an entire lifetime. The first step of dilution is to immerse yourself in the vat of hell. Feel it, taste it, sleep with it, and saturate yourself. Pretending it does not burn or claiming that everything is OK is pure bullshit. After the hurt has permeated every cell in your body, taken all your breathe, and robbed you of energy, then you can begin to heal. The first step is acceptance. Nothing can be done to bring a dead person back to life. The only place that person lives is in your head and heart.
You build and furnish that home!