The process of grieving is a journey. One that comes in waves, hits deep and leaves you reeling in it’s wake. There are days when you forget that your heart is broken and you are filled with joy because you are surrounded by those you love and are doing the work that you love.
And then there are days that the sadness settles in so deeply you wonder if you’ll ever be the same again.
And you won’t be. I won’t be. This is the nature of life. It goes on.
And we must find a way to embrace that. I must find a way.
I can hear him saying it now… “You just have to get on with it Finola”.
He said that to me during one of our quiet visits together.
I wanted to know how he was dealing with how the Parkinson’s was affecting him. I wanted to know how he was coping.
I wanted to know how his heart was. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have your body break down around you as your mind remained intact and slowly but surely every thing you enjoyed when your life was vibrant slowly ebbed away.
He could no longer read because the muscles in his eyes had declined from the Parkinson’s. He could no longer hear our conversations too well because his hearing had declined from years of being on train engines. He could no longer speak too well because he had lost his swallow with Parkinson’s. He couldn’t eat or drink. He couldn’t walk.
And still he smiled… He smiled a smile that reached his eyes because that was all he could do.
And that’s when I realised his Courage.
His courage to continue to lighten our load in spite of it all.
This was his gift to us. One of them.
This is his Legacy. Or part of it.
MARCH 2018 – 3 Month’s before Dad’s Passing
In March 2018, three months before Dad passed away, I attended and participated in a workshop to celebrate International Women’s Day. The workshop was called “It’s all about YOU!” and was facilitated by the wonderful Dee Hutchinson.
One of the exercises on that day was about discovering your values. It was a deep exercise that made you distill right down to one single word that expressed your core value.
Of course, you don’t know that when you start.
When you start, you’re given pages and pages of single words and you have to choose just 20 to express your values. Everything you believe in. Everything you hold dear.
Those 20 are a struggle and you’re sighing and grumbling and laughing simultaneously about having to make those choices.
Step 2 comes when you have to halve those choices to just 10 single words…
Then you have to halve them again and again until ultimately you are forced to choose just one.
The end result ultimately shocks… because invariably you didn’t realise that was your core value.
You can declare values with your head and they will make sense to everything and everyone around you… logically…
But when the head is no longer in play and you can only make choices based on heart or gut you discover something deeper because that’s where truth lives.
In that exercise I discovered Courage.
August 2018, 2 Month’s after Dad’s Passing
In August 2018, I did an interview on Dublin City FM with the lovely Danielle Serpico. We were talking about coping with adversity and the highs and lows in life. I spoke about some of the highs and lows in my own life and the tools I used to push through.
And then we spoke about Dad. It was tough on me and I know that Danielle sensed that too.
I found it difficult to speak towards the end of the interview.
Danielle offered a suggestion to help at this time.
It was to keep speaking about Dad and in that way, we could keep him alive in our lives.
Towards the end of the interview, she asked me one last question.
“Tell us the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your Father… “
I only had strength for one word…
I didn’t know that was what I was going to say.
Like before it came straight from the heart because that is where truth lives.
This is his legacy… Courage in the face of all.
A quiet courage that lightens every load.
A courage that reaches the eyes in a smile that twinkles.
Thank you, Dad.
It’s time to move on.
I share this story with you, not as a vanity piece but as something that has purpose.
On the one hand I needed to write it to be able to move on because I haven’t written anything since I shared his Eulogy. And Dad would have wanted me to “just get on with it”.
I also share it because as entrepreneurs, we run our businesses and take care of our customers even when it’s hard to keep going. We have to. It’s who we are as entrepreneurs. This piece is in celebration of that fact.
For all those times, when it is just so hard to keep going. We do.
Being an Entrepreneur takes courage. And we have it.
I want to acknowledge that.
So, if you are an entrepreneur and are hitting a low point right now.
Remember you are not alone. We are with you.
Take courage in that fact. And keep going.
I love to work with businesses, both large and small to help them create sustainable business dreams... Brand and Strategy are at the heart of everything I do and that gets rolled out digitally and across any channel where your customer lives.
26 responses to “How To Follow A Eulogy? Embrace Their Legacy”
Such tender words filled with strength and courage. Thank you Finola
Thank you Sandra. I cried with every word but it eases the load.
Beautifully said Finola, thank you for your courage to share your heartfelt feelings and thoughts about your Dad. Lots of love Louise
Thank you Louise. I’ll not lie. It was a tough and important part of this journey I’m on.
Beautifully put Finola.
Thank you Declan.
You’re gifted with words and translating heart’s messages to stories Finola. Thank you for sharing. x
Thank you Jan – strong praise from you and greatly welcomed x
Lovely Finola. I can see him as I read. ❤️
Thank you Maire – and thank you for being with us when he passed. It meant a lot x
Oh Finola you & I have and are on similar journeys where our dads are concerned. I miss mine too, everyday. Like your dear dad, mine smiled and talked with his eyes, my mam says I do the same! Like yours, mine told me to keep going, “you have to Mags, that’s life”. Big hugs to you missus, they gave us courage and they helped to make us who we are….too strong souls xx
Thank you Mags.They were wonderful men and like you I miss him every day.
We are privileged to have come from two such wonderful souls.
They give us hope x
Beautiful finola 💖xx
Thank you Lorraine x
You’re a great tribute to your dad Finola. XXOOOXXX
Thanks so much Teri x
Finola, you are such an inspiration. That’s my word for you. Inspiration. Thank you.
You are very kind Judy – thank you. I’m glad it touched you.
The huge lump in my throat and tears rolling down my face tell me this stuck a deep chord, one that I thought I was managing. You think you can hide emotions and reactions, wear the mask and deal with life, but in the end it catches up and screams for attention. I could have been reading a story about my own father, it just brought back such painful memories. I now realise I should be celebrating his life and what he taught us, he smiled like your dad right up to the end what amazing men to be able to do that! I would love to be able to write such a beautiful eulogy in his memory, I couldn’t even speak at his funeral. Thank you for sharing so openly, it is great food for thought. Rachel
Thank you for such kind words. We have to celebrate their time with us – it is how they can stay alive with us.
I like to think that he’s with me when I need him, when I see something funny and yes, when I’m heart broken over what I won’t get to share with him in person.
I miss the hugs but I’ll pass them on to Sean and hold his smile in my heart.
Take care of yourself Rachel and thank you for your openness… I don’t feel so alone in this journey when others share x
that was lovely Finola, thanks for sharing. I lost my Dad this year too. My dad was self employed and so are most of my siblings, we all went back to work straight away, I think it’s all we could do. I miss my Dad’s kindness, he always took the kids off the bold step!
I’m very sorry for your loss Angelina.
My Dad was like that too… and I was always the one on that step…
Thinking of you x
As always you’ve touched a nerve with your honesty and willingness to share your story. Tears of sadness here but also joy, joy that you had such a wonderful man as a father. His legacy lives on in you Finola, be proud of that and the courage you have to share your vulnerability to give us the courage to keep moving forward also.
You are very kind Vicki
I have been very lucky to have had such a male role model. His passing helped me discover a lot about myself and what he passed on to me. Things I didn’t even realise until I started writing.
And we must keep moving forward. This is life and it is for living. x
Dear Finola, I read this at the end of a day when those little niggly things went wrong-ish all day long, and I felt discouraged. But your words helped me regain perspective. You’re a treasure to know. Thanks for sharing your perspective on such an incredibly difficult time in your recent life.
Thank you Pam – you are very kind.
I know I needed to write it but I wanted it to have purpose beyond my own needs. I am so glad it helped.