I Learned My Best Life Lesson Last Week…
I’ve been busy planning and thinking through the Best Of series hoping to share some important lessons I’ve learned in Business and Marketing. It started out with the “Best Business Innovation” talking about how a business overcame challenges by removing the barriers in their process. We also presented our “Best Commercial” which highlighted Jessica and her emotional journey that touched the hearts of many.
Getting ready to award our third Best Of 2021, something very unexpected happened. I got a phone call from my mom. This is pretty common since I am her IT department for all the electronics at their house. I run over to fix things all the time. Wifi issues, cable issues, TV issues, phone Issues…oh, sometimes plumbing issues, and even car issues…but her voice was shaky. She said, “You should come over now and take dad to the hospital, he’s having severe chest pains.”
Quick history. 5 years ago, through a series of tests, we found out my dad had over 90% blockage in his heart. We also found out that his heart had a severe plaque build-up which made it very difficult and risky to operate. After my sister and I advocated for his heart to be fixed (they were going to send him home with medication because the hospital didn’t have a surgeon that was willing to operate), he was flown in a helicopter to Keck Medical Center at USC to have 4 stents put in his heart. This saved his life and we were grateful for the surgeon, the medical science, and the prayers of many for his miraculous second chance at life.
When mom called, everything felt familiar as before…a flashback of uncertainty and fear. When we arrived at the emergency room, they took him in right away. They administered morphine for his pain and after a few tests, there were extreme levels of troponin which indicated that his heart had a severe injury…a heart attack. After his pain was managed, he was taken to his room to be monitored and figure out the next steps. We dropped off mom back at home that night, and as I walked around the house, I saw a handwritten will on the kitchen counter. Dad knew this was his last visit to the hospital.
Now, my dad and I don’t have a great history. I don’t know about many of you, but my dad was a source of deep pain for me growing up. As dad was navigating through his own difficulties in life, he made our lives pretty challenging. My childhood memories are filled with physical and verbal abuse resulting in very low self-esteem for me followed by a lot of rooted anger towards him. I blamed him for many of my own insecurities and failures. But the past 5 years have been different. As he’s nearing the end of his life, especially after the big scare, he’s been more open to sharing his own regrets and expressing his gratitude for me and my sister. He said, “I don’t know if I would still be alive if it wasn’t for you two”…and he kept thanking us for our care and love toward him and mom.
I sat in my comfy chair in my home office the next morning thinking about dad. And I did something I’ve never done before. I wept. I wept for my dad. And in the depth of my soul, I knew that I loved him. And that he loved me. And I came to a realization for the first time in my life that I have forgiven him. It was a slow and gradual process of healing but I think I can actually say that out loud now. I have forgiven him.
I’ve always heard stories and examples of the power of forgiveness. And I am beginning to believe that it’s real. It comes with a sense of freedom and peace which I would like to declare as this year’s “Best Life Lesson.” I know this is a bit unconventional as I am sharing something so personal with you, but I think it’s worth it.
We drove dad home last week after another successful and risky operation on his heart (now his 5th stent). We are all grateful for another chance. We are grateful for having more time to heal and having more time to find joy as we work to create more lasting and beautiful memories together during the final chapters of his life.
Forgiveness. That’s the word for today. Please help spread the word. It will change everything.