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Life Is What We Make Of It
Posted by dirkgently1066
16th Mar 2014

And so an emotional week draws to a close.

I wasn't sure that I wanted to write this blog at all. In some respects, I said everything I wanted to say in the eulogy. And yet, I find there are things that I held back on that I still want to explore.

I never expected to be as emotional as I was. I had pictured my Dad's death on numerous occasions, a unique by-product of his MND. I expected to be strong, to hold the family together, to provide support as those around me fell.

But the truth was very different. Walking into the hospital room on that final evening, I didn't care who else was there. The tears came and I allowed them to come. There was no reason to stop them.

And yet even then, even as Mum encouraged us to say our last words to him, I found myself holding back. Tears were easy, they were a gesture. Words were far harder. I said what I could; I hoped that I had made him proud.

Where I had expected to be strong for others, I found instead that I retreated into my shell. I simply had no room left to extend compassion to others. My own grief was all consuming. I recognise part of this as a choice. I was not interested in the platitudes, the 'he can still hear you's, the group hugs. I needed to process, to find my own path.

Perhaps I found my strength in other ways. Entering the crematorium, I was not sure that I could give the eulogy. I am proud that I was able to stand in front of my Dad's friends and families and speak openly and emotionally. I hope my words did him justice.

I have many regrets in life. One of them is that the words I find so easy to write are so hard for me to say. I never told my Dad that I loved him when he was alive. In spite of it all, I still cannot tell my Mum.

The death of a parent is a pivotal moment in ones life. If the movies are to be believed, it is a watershed moment, when the protagonist takes stock of his life, realises the folly of his current road and takes inspiration to set a new course.

And so what did my revelation tell me?

Nothing.

But perhaps that is only natural. Amongst many other things, therapy has taught me that there is no magic pill, no cosmic solution. Life will not bend to your desire simply because you wish it to do so. Sometimes life, quite simply, is not fair.

There is only one fundamental truth; we have a choice.

I have suffered from depression and anxiety. I can choose to allow these illnesses to define me. Or, I can choose to accept the lessons that they have taught me and use them to move forward.

This is a difficult truth for some to understand. This medicine isn't like the fabled pill above. This medicine is difficult to swallow, there is no spoon of sugar to help it on its way down. And yet once accepted, this truth is liberating. I am not a slave to depression and anxiety. My life is my own. My choices are my own.

Today, I chose to write.

Tomorrow? I must choose again.

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