I had just gotten my chicken sandwich and fries when my cell phone rang.
It was 8:45 pm on a Tuesday evening, an odd time for my mom to be calling.
I answered the phone and there were a few moments of silence. Something didn’t seem right…my pulse quickened, “Hi mom, what’s going on?”
“It’s your dad,” she said in a voice that left me immediately feeling incredibly alert and strangely focused.
He’d been in and out of the hospital about once a month for the past 6 months and we all knew his health was deteriorating.
She proceeded to tell me that he’d been admitted into the hospital the day before with some complications and had to undergo a minor procedure.
In the operating room, he flat-lined and was put in a medically-induced coma.
The next few moments felt like an eternity.
I found my voice and told her I would take the next flight out from Denver to California.
Less than 24 hours later, I was sitting across from the on-call surgeon discussing my father’s health and the options we had before us for his life.
Nothing, I mean NOTHING could’ve prepared me for the strength I had to draw upon in the days that followed. Sometimes you don’t know how strong you can be until it’s the only choice you have.
My father’s health was exponentially declining and we made the decision to take him off life support once I had gotten ahold of all his siblings so they could travel to say good-bye.
The next 24 hours were a blur of phone calls and logistical back and forth. I don’t think my phone left my hand that day.
In a window of about 12 hours, all six of my uncles and aunts arrived, some from as far as Colombia.
As I look around the hospital room I saw a room full of tired, hungry, and exhausted souls.
My father had been taken off life support about 4 hours earlier and the Doctor’s said that it would be between 4-8 hours for him to naturally pass. He was conscious and coherent, but couldn’t speak.
He was hooked up to a heart monitor and a single IV that was helping him stay pain-free.
I looked around the room of humans and made a decision.
“You all need to eat, change, check-in to hotel rooms, and rest a little. Take an hour or two and take care of yourselves, please. I have all your numbers if anything about his condition changes.”
Everyone had literally dropped what they were doing to fly out and be next to my father. He was the oldest of all the siblings and had stepped in as the father figure when his father passed away far too soon.
He was basically dad to each of his siblings.
I even kicked out my mom, brother, and sister.
Everyone finally left the hospital room. A part of me was relieved to have the stillness and quiet of the room as the last few days had been a complete whirlwind.
All of a sudden, the reality of the situation sunk in…I was sitting next to my dad’s bed, just him and I. I realized this would be the last chance I would have to speak to him, in the flesh.
I looked over at him and checked in: “Dad, it’s me, Luisa…blink once if you can hear me.” He blinked once.
I said very little and it would take me seven years to truly understand why I said what I did.
“Dad, I want you to know you are the best father that I could’ve ever asked for. There is nothing in this world that I would change about what my life has been to this point with you. Do you understand this?”
That was it. After our exchange, I sat with him, and we watched Jeopardy on the hospital TV.
Those were my last words to my father. He passed away about 5 hours surrounded by Love.
That was in 2013. For the past seven years, I thought that our conversation was ME forgiving my dad for the sharp and often extreme upbringing that I had.
I was wrong.
That conversation was actually about me forgiving myself for judging myself for the way he raised me.
Forgiving myself for thinking I knew best how I should be loved.
The depth of that conversation took me seven years to fully integrate. A long time for my mind, but the spirit operates in Kronos time so it was really “just in time”.
My father and I didn’t have an idyllic father-daughter relationship.
I now understand our relationship was what my soul ordered so that I could become the spiritual guidance teacher that I am. So that I could develop unconditional love, stand up fiercely for others, transcend judgemental thinking against victims, and more that has not been revealed to me.
To this day, I don’t know what compelled me to say what I did…but I listened to the nudge from my spirit and that conversation fundamentally shifted my life.
Life has difficulties, that is inevitable. Life contains pain…when we get what we want and when we get what we don’t want because of the impermanence of it all.
That is what is.
Suffering comes in when we cling to the desire of our mind…
…when we find ourselves emotionally attached to the way we think things should go…
…when they are different than what is unfolding in front of us.
So in that sense, if we can let go of the clinging, we let go of the suffering.
Our ego wants to convince us otherwise because the recognition and acceptance of our pain is a threat to the stability of our ego.
But if we listen to our higher mind, and travel the path of the spirit, there is freedom, unlike anything you could ever imagine.
When we can BE with our pain, we do not suffer…we simply heal, grow, evolve, and evolve.
And that is why we are each on this planet.