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It’s a strange thing to learn of a loved one’s passing who you didn’t really like. I feel like I should be grieving more – then sometimes, I’m shocked I’m even grieving at all.

My step-father (the man who helped raise me for 39 years) succumbed to heart disease last week. It was something the family expected and frankly, we’re a little surprised this didn’t happen sooner.

Dick was a grumpy, disconnected man who epitomized narcissism and never showed an ounce of love. He’s gone – but not without leaving his legacy. I learned how to make the perfect gin martini when I was seven.

Archie Bunker had nothing on Dick. It’s easy to harbor feelings of anger and resentment with him. Still, I feel a sense of peace, in my acceptance and forgiveness of his flaws.

Compassion trumps resentment.

I fly back to Hawaii, the scene of the crime, next week for the funeral. With just one flight across the Pacific, I am pulled back in to a place I’ve spent half my life wanting to forget.

But maybe I shouldn’t forget. Maybe this experience is unfolding before me to serve as an opportunity to embrace the lessons I’ve learned.

There is a scene in George Clooney’s movie The Decedents which was filmed at The Elks Club in Waikiki – the backdrop to countless memories of abuse and neglect. It didn’t dawn on me that movie was filmed on O’ahu, and as soon as the camera framed Clooney and his on-screen daughter near this particular railing outside a restaurant, I gasped. Panic set in, and I nearly left the theater.

Then I took a breath. I marinated in the Now and realized – I don’t have to be a victim of my past. I can come full circle and own my truth, recognizing how far I’ve come.

My trip next week won’t be easy, but I know that no matter what the circumstance, I can break the cycle and love deeply, even if Richard didn’t know how to show it.

It’s the people who don’t show love who need it the most.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. ~ Dalai Lama

7 comments

  1. Hey Christine, Guess what, just moments ago, I was on "the change blog" where I commented about how I keep myself in the state of compassion all the time. Then I come here and find this wonderful little Gem! Thanks for the wonderful post!Maybe, compassion is the name of the day.

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  2. You have such great insight I have a feeling this will help give you a lot of closure. You know you are really over something when it doesn't bother you anymore. I hope you trip gives you a little of that!

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  3. @Big Mark – What a lovely way to explain forgiveness. I agree completely. @Jaky – I will have to check out that blog! I like the idea of expressing compassion all the time. It's not easy, but so rewarding. @DalaiLina – I have a feeling you are right! @RJ – So true, my friend. Thanks for the lovely comments. I so appreciate them.

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  4. The key to change is recognizing (the hardest part) where we fall short and making the choice to do something about it. You sound like you are on your way, and your blog and book are a wonderful start. Everyone deserves to be loved. I hope you find the love you want, need and deserve. Looking forward to your next post 🙂

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  5. Wow. You are strong and you are wise and I feel like maybe going back with those two traits supporting you will make the trip much less awful than it seems. Maybe it'll end up to be some sort of strange blessing in disguise.

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