You may be wondering why I titled this blog post as a question and as this specific question. Before I begin let me just answer the title, “NO!” it is never too late. Apply this post to any area in your life that you feel it can connect to. This is a fairly raw post for me that holds a great deal of my heart and emotions, which are still fresh so bare with me.
My Father died on August 8th of this year, it was unexpected and it was crushing for myself and my family. My Dad and I had a rocky and strained relationship during my younger years. We argued quite a lot and then we would hold grudges. We butted heads more than most, looking back it was probably because we were more alike that different which added to our stubbornness and typically pointless fights. When I was 18 years old my parents divorced and that was the day my life would forever be change. I remember it clearly because it was the first day in my life that I felt a need for connection with my Dad and I felt powerful in our relationship. Let me explain what I mean by powerful. Instead of my Dad and I seeing each other in the same house on a daily basis, he moved out. I wasn’t running into him at the table during breakfast and I didn’t see him in the backyard mowing the lawn. I began to worry, “What kind of relationship do I have with my Father?” more importantly, “What kind of relationship do I want with him?” I had to initiate something. I wrote my Dad a long letter asking him if he would like to build a relationship, I included a few things that I needed from him and how we could start getting to know each other for the first time. I realized during the divorce that I had needs, I needed a Father that was present and willing to work on a relationship that previously had been practically nonexistent. A very short time after mailing this letter I received a response saying that my Dad was ALL IN, whatever we needed to do to have a connection he was willing to meet me half way. From that day on we stayed connected, it wasn’t always easy but we continuously got closer and stayed in touch over the years. When I got the call that he had died I was in shock, I couldn’t believe that I had seen him only a few weeks ago and now he would be forever gone. My husband and I had a long drive to meet up with my brothers in California and then drove down to the L.A. area for the memorial. While my husband was driving I was scrolling through my phone looking at pictures of me and my Dad, posts that we had tagged each other in and texts that we sent back and forth. One of the last texts my Dad and I shared was this:
I share this personal bit of my life with you in hopes that you can understand and apply a portion of this to your life. I don’t care what differences you have with another person, I don’t care if you have grudges that you think will never heal, it does not matter what other people do or say, you are in charge of your own destiny.
You are not going to agree and get along with everyone in the world. You might have a difficult time even getting along with family. You will find differences in all relationships. One freeing thing that I can share about relationships is this, things that other people do is nobodies business or decision but their own and with that you are the only person that can guide you through life. Your own morals and choices are yours to decide alone. You can hold a grudge against someone but at the end of the day what does that accomplish? You carry around anger towards someone who most likely has no idea that you are even and. Instead of grudges and turning on others because of the choices that they make that you may or may not agree with, how about you become powerful. You get your moment of realization, you can make choices that change your future.
Thankfully I was able to make amends with my Dad and talk through all the things that we had argued about in the past. We sat at a coffee shop once just crying and talking about all the things that we were sorry for saying to each other over the years. My heart was so healed that day. We let things go and moved on into a loving and even fun relationship. I will always be thankful for that silver lining, my Father is gone but he left during a time that I had no regrets, no unsaid words, nothing left to work through and all of our apologies were said to each other. In a strange way it makes my Dad’s death the tiniest bit more bearable. My last words to him were “I love you”. What will your last words be to that person you’ve been holding a grudge against? If they were gone tomorrow what things will you be happy you did before they left this earth? Will you have regrets?
I don’t ask these questions to leave you in a constant state of panic or fear that your loved one will die or that the person you’ve been mad at all week or year will be gone and you will have great remorse for the rest of your life. I am sharing this because nothing is too big that we can’t fix and work through it. Nothing that another person does should effect you so much that you change who you are. I’m not sure about you but I will never give another person power to dictate my emotions depending on what choices they make or the things they say. You get to live your own life and everyone else gets to live theirs. If you don’t agree with how other people are doing life here are your options: 1) Agree to disagree and know that their decisions are not your own to make. 2) Hold grudge and becomes bitter and let one person effect your life. 3) If someone’s life or decisions are unhealthy for you to be around remove them from your life or put strict boundaries up with that particular person. Options 1 and 3 are the best and healthiest. Believe me I tried option 2 a few time over the years and it hurts and it is messy.
Here is my silver lining with my Dad’s passing. Nothing was left unsaid, he knew I loved him and I knew he loved me. His death caused family to come together that hadn’t seen each other in over 10 years. My prayers were answered due to a few important relationships in my life being restored after a few years of disconnect. I am living each day with a realization that the people and family that we love are all that matters. Live a happy and healthy life. Look for your silver lining in every tragic situation because there is always something to be thankful for. I’m thankful for my Brothers whom I love dearly! I am thankful for my husband who has been so strong for me during this time. My sister in laws that are loving and that I am glad are there for my brothers. My family that I have reconnected with after way too long. Lastly I am thankful for God, because it would be impossible to see anything good come from my Father’s death without the silver lining He has given me!