Written on: April 3, 2018
by Elisa Coleclough
The last book I read to my father was “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” by John C. Maxwell. That day, I would arrive in the morning to pick up my mother and take her home to rest as she had stayed the night before at the hospital with dad.
That day, I was already devastated, I had never seen my father like that before and my face showed the pain I was under. Unlike many people, I decided to exercise first thing in the morning and then take a shower, get myself comfortable clothes and wear make-up. I had the hope somewhere in my soul that he would wake up and see me, and I wanted to look alright. I wore red lipstick, Tommy Girl perfume (my father loved that perfume and said it was just like me “a happy summer day”) and took with me a coat, a book and a notebook. I was ready to stay the night with him, but I wanted to read for him some positive stuff.
A few days before he had asked me what the “new” book I was reading was about so I decided that I would take that book with me.
As I sat down and I observed his blood pressure lower and lower, I knew deep down that only God was to decide and it was not up to the doctors nor me. Every nurse or doctor that stepped into the room was faced with the same questions: Is he in pain? Does he feel anything? Is there other medicines that could help him? Did other patients recover from similar cases in the past?
The look on people’s faces were discouraging and painful. I guess they are used to seeing this cases but they also had hope he would recover in the first 24 hours which by that time had not happened.
My dad had a machine connected to his lungs which kept him breathing and all the medicines and chemicals kept him virtually alive. I know from studies made by important hospitals and universities than one of the last organs to die in the human body is the “ear”. So he could hear us all though his eyelids or muscles did not react. (While in the back of my mind I was puzzled by the fact that how come the man who told me to never give up and fight had reached a point where he was on the verge of death. )
I was actually reading the “Law of Awareness” which actually talks about the fact that knowing ourselves is the first step to grow ourselves.
“No one can produce great thing who is not thoroughly sincere in dealing with himself” – James Russell Lowell
Actually, the very answer to my heart’s question lied in the chapter. My dad had decided to give up on his hope for a different life and had lost the most important “the sense of direction”.
My father had worked in the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes and he had held different leadership roles. He was one of those rare leaders who possessed character and charisma at the same time. He was able to think of the big picture and looked for common sense and common goals. People elected him several years as his leader because my father was devoid of desire for power but instead he wanted to help others. He was purposeful and had clarity for management and negotiation. However, he did not possess the same sense in his personal life. All his leadership and character did not show much at home where my mother had the “last word”. The few times my dad and I had a quarrel was because he did not negotiate of look for common ground when it came to home stuff.
The day, I was reading that book and holding his hand already too cold and too stiff, I realized that it is awareness in all our life’s areas and at all ages which truly matters. When we talk about leadership we need to think of ourselves as a whole: personally, physically, mentally, spiritually and professionally. We need to take control and never give in to the power of others in any sense. There will be people we love much and we do not want to be in disagreement but we really need to make clear our point of view.
“We only show courage if we truly value ourselves” – John C. Maxwell
After all, we do not need to be in agreement with everyone, we can agree to disagree but we need always to take care of ourselves. I know my father was not an exception to this. A lot of wonderful people retire and they lose the sense of purpose, direction and existence and instead of understanding and accepting this new chapter in their life, they simply give in to habits which neither help them nor improve their quality of life. Habits that bore them and eventually will wear them out lacking direction and purpose.
Awareness is also understanding that we never stop learning and no matter if we are 5 years or 95 years old, the day, we decide we have nothing to learn, we are slowly setting the clock backwards.
I have to say, I looked for answers and I found them. Could I have helped him become aware of his downfall? By all means. I was not aware of the process myself actually. I felt sad, I felt I had failed my father in a way for not opening his eyes to a world of opportunities and hope. I had attempted several times whatsoever. But I did not manage to get him take action and feel himself useful and active.
There is nothing much I can do now. He is gone but my mother remains. Her life is already changing because I am opening her eyes to other possibilities and hopes. It is a time for mourning but life goes on and I am sure my father would have wanted us all to learn from his and change for the better. Awareness sometimes comes after we have failed the lesson. Am I going to sit down and cry and do nothing? Not at all. I am already adjusting and thinking: how can I help others open their eyes?
Take care and if you have your parents, grandparents or other relatives of a senior age, bring awareness to them and help them find their sense of direction TODAY. We all can change for the better. Finally, I leave you with the phrase which comes in the book I totally recommend you to read “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” and encourage your loved ones to read with you:
“Our reputation comes from what others believe about our outside. Our character represents who we are on the inside. ..focus on being better on the inside than on the outside, over time you will also become better on the outside: The inside influences the outside” – John C. Maxwell
Have a nice day/week, Eli