Dana went from being disconnected from her father, to feeling unconditional love for him in about two and a half days. I witnessed the transformation. When her father suffered a medical emergency she morphed from a project manager who thrived on knowing exactly what was going to happen, to a daughter putting old wounds aside with no idea what might happen next.
It had been only 3 weeks since she’d gotten the call that her father with whom she hadn’t spoken for over a year was in the hospital. Stopping by to see if there was something she could do turned into taking full responsibility for his care. Having felt abandoned by her father for as long as she could remember, Dana decided to put her life on hold and become his caregiver. How do we explain this?
Logic has very little to do with matters of the heart. She wanted to be there for him in spite of his not having been there for her. It was hurt, responsibility and maybe an effort to make sure she wasn’t like him. But something magical happened…love. In her decision to care for him, Dana found she’d healed their past. Little did she know this decision would change the rest of her life.
Just yesterday she was moving her father’s entire house into her two bedroom apartment, anticipating his release from the hospital, when they told her that he wasn’t coming home. Her willingness to step up regardless of the circumstances shifted everything in her life. Her whole perspective changed in one moment. She was no longer a hurt little girl going through life looking for approval. This was a powerful transformation she never could have foreseen when she made the decision to care for him.
This is the painful gift that a dying father leaves behind to a daughter, deeply wounded. In his final hours he came through for her waking up just long enough to say the thing she had wished for her whole life…to hear, “I’m so proud of you” and then he died.
Was this providence? When we move beyond our hurt and fear, do we put God’s mystery in motion? Or do we just get out of our own way so that we can see more clearly?
However miraculous Dana’s experience was, this kind of transformation can happen to all of us.
It’s hard to explain what the effects of caregiving. But when I saw the photo of Dana’s father holding her hand in the hospital on his last day, I realized why I do what I do.
I need to be a part of the love and miracles that happen when families open their hearts, heal the past and are transformed by it.
©2015 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.