Everything changes when losing a parent.
If we are lucky, we celebrate their life and remember the good times. We recall their best attributes in both tender moments and the most unexpected of places. And when things calm down again and we have time to think about their passing, the inevitable questions come.
We question the legacy we are building.
We question how we spend the measure of our days. We question our chosen career path, our family decisions, even our hobbies. We question whether any of it is worth it in the end.
Over the weeks that followed the death of my father, I had a great deal of time to think about life as I drove between Ohio and Alabama for the funeral to help put his affairs in order.
Two keystone life events had just occurred within a fortnight of each other.
My wife and I had just welcomed our second baby, which was amazing.
But then 10 days later my dad died, which sucked. The best of times and the worst of times. It was like a real-life Charles Dickens novel.
But while driving home on Interstate 65 in Kentucky, I found something.
We like to toss around trite clichés like “finding oneself”. I guess it’s one of those things that’s just a consequence of good phrasing. It works.
Anyway, on that cold December day in the hills, I remembered something important.
I remembered the ticking of the clock.
And then I remembered there was a long list of things I wanted to do with my time here.
As I considered the fleeting nature of that time, I felt old sensations return.
Hunger. Ambition. A desire to make a difference.
By the time I pulled into my driveway, I was filled with clarity and resolve.
I may have lost my dad, but maybe I found myself in the process.
Now it was time to get to work…
Tick. Tick. Tick.