Anyone who has suffered great loss, sadness or grief has a profound opportunity. It is a universal truth that as we move through experiences like this, something within us changes. Change that has the potential to temper our spirits, increase our thankfulness and award wisdom. However on the other hand we can allow it to make us bitter and cruel much like the world that took from us what we were not yet ready to give. I think on this today as the 6th anniversary of my father’s passing recently came by and as always it’s a time of melancholy and reflection. On that day each year my precious mother and I make time for just the two of us to visit, reminisce & enjoy my father’s favorite foods: lasagna and chocolate doughnuts with milk for dessert.

As a child I remember my father going out to get milk in the evening at my mother’s request and always returning with the milk as well as a box of those funny little waxy chocolate doughnuts. We’d all jokingly rib him for his unhealthy indulgence while we enjoyed a doughnut or three. You see, these little private moments with him, these precious memories, still make me cry a little. I will miss him with my whole heart forever. He was a kind, talented and generous man. And perhaps his final gift to me is the one I cherish above all others, the gift of perspective. When we lose someone greatly loved we are granted a strange and beautiful kindness. In the middle of our pain and tears there is an opportunity to truly understand the importance of all things.

Grief turns down the volume on everything that once felt so pressing, making what’s truly precious shine ever brighter. And, at least for me, it allowed me to find the courage to be outrageously myself. You see, nothing puts you at ease or gives you the courage to do the seemingly impossible like perspective. This is the great gift readily available to all of us in the Grief Club, it’s simply up to us to reach out, clutch it to our chest and deny the seduction of bitterness. So thank you Dad, for even in death you still teach me how to be a better man and a wise steward of the life I still have left to live. I love and miss you in equal measure.