Over the years, I have had many mentors and teachers, both here on earth as well as heavenly guides. My true earthly teacher showed up when I was in my late 30’s. He had actually been there my entire life. He was my Dad. My experience with my Dad is what allowed me to understand and pursue my gift as a healer.
My Dad and I were very close. I am adopted. My Dad made sure there wasn’t a moment that I didn’t feel unconditionally loved and wanted. He was truly the kindest, gentle man that I have ever known. He opened my eyes every day to the miracles that are all around us. As a kid, I remember looking out the kitchen window with him on a terribly cold, January day. We noticed the chickadees out in a tree. I felt sorry for the birds but he was in awe about how they were perfectly equipped to survive even the harshest winters. He said this was just another miracle in this beautiful divine plan.
In my late 30’s, my Dad began to frequently stumble, having trouble picking up his foot. He then lost the feeling in his feet and hands. His speech became slurred until it became almost impossible to understand his words.
After many doctor visits, we found ourselves physically exhausted and emotionally depleted, waiting in a small neurologist’s office at The Mayo Clinic in Rochester. We had been through three full days of testing.
Throughout the testing (both cognitive and physical) my Dad would look at me with a sweet, sweet expression. “Did I pass?” he would ask. “Did I do well?” It broke my heart because I knew that this was not a situation in which passing or doing well would matter.
The doctor came in. For the life of me, I can’t remember anything about him. The only thing I recall was him saying, “Although there are no definitive tests, we feel very certain that John has ALS.” The rest is a blur. I took in a deep breath and looked at my Mom and then my Dad. He didn’t understand the diagnosis. He thought if he worked hard enough he was going to get better. I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. I knew if I exhaled, it would be with loud sobs.
I stepped out of the doctor’s office so I wouldn’t upset my Dad. My world was imploding as I walked with no direction. I found myself in the large atrium of one of the main buildings. There were people from across the world having all sorts of experiences – doctors, nurses, patients, families, children. There was a piano player.
Kids were dancing. Some were singing. It was a surreal taste of Disneyland in the middle of a hospital. I sat by an atrium window and watched the strange scene unfold in front of me. I couldn’t move or breathe. I wasn’t sure how to process my Dad’s diagnosis. I didn’t feel connected to my body. I felt like I was placed in the middle of a tornado as I watched everything swirl around me. I came back to earth while calling my husband, telling him the news. The experience became real as the words left my mouth, “My Dad is dying-he has ALS”.
In that moment, I realized that there is no such thing as “doing well in life.” We are here to experience each moment for what it brings – whether it be love, joy, distress, pain, support, or all the above. We are here to richly experience and share in each moment, no matter the circumstance or the outcome.
During this journey, there were two pivotal moments through which my life’s purpose was revealed to me. The first one occurred while I was taking my Dad out for a walk around the neighborhood in his wheelchair. My Dad had such a peaceful and joyful disposition. When I would come in the door to visit, he would clap his hands, his eyes and mouth would open in a joyful expression. He’d smile and mouth the words, “Oh My!” He’d do the same when they would bring him his favorite snack, ice cream.
However, this particular day, he was aggressive and angry. We were halfway around the block and he began to direct angry noises at me. He had lost his ability to speak coherently. He was motioning that he wanted to turn around and go back.
I eased his wheelchair around to face me. We were in the middle of the street. I asked him, “Dad, are you afraid?” I got a nod. I asked, “Are you afraid to die?” Tears flowed down his face and he mouthed the word, “Yes.” He began to sob. I placed one hand on his heart and held his hand with the other. I told him, “I am going to walk through this with you. You are not on this journey alone. I will be with you on this side, holding your hand until you are ready to cross over and take the hand of The Creator.” Did those words come from me or were those the words from Divine Inspiration? Yes. Yes to both.
As I write these words, my dog is pulling on my shirt. She’s looking at me as if to say, “I am here. See me. See my support and unconditional love.” My other dog walked over to offer her stuffed animal, Bob, with the same expression. Support shows up in many different forms – “One Being”, whether human or animal, feeling and responding to the vibration of another. This is one of those miracles my Dad told me to watch for.
The second pivotal moment occurred when I was lying with my Dad in his bed at the hospice home. His ability to speak had long since left him. However that didn’t stop him from talking all day and all night. He’d go on and on about something and then turn to me, “Hmm?” as if to ask what I thought. I had no answer because I hadn’t the faintest idea of what he said. I’d do my best to respond and he’d shrug his shoulders, satisfied with my answer, and continue the conversation.
The process of getting him to sleep was similar to a young child that wanted to stay up as late as possible. One night, I placed my hand on his heart to settle him and discovered a new language between us. With my hand upon his heart, I knew exactly what he was trying to communicate.
We began to speak to each other through our heart. I’d feel his emotions and would send back a response. No words were uttered or necessary. Eventually, he would settle and drift off to sleep, content with our communication. Our Souls learned the process of true communication. It was beautiful.
Our Soul Conversations were a special blessing in his final days. As his Spirit was preparing to leave, I was able to follow the process with him and ease both of us through it. His final act as my Dad, my Guide, and my Earth Angel, was to teach me how to heal through the simple act of laying my hand on his heart and listening to the voice of Spirit speaking back. His Spirit, my Spirit, the Spirit of All That Is. The Spirit that runs within each one of us.
ALS, which initially devastated my world, provided a great gift in the end. It showed me that our existence is eternal. My Dad is present for me everyday in a much more profound way than I ever, in my wildest dreams, could have imagined.
Over the years, I have had many mentors and teachers. Yet, my true earthly teacher revealed himself through a profound experience of loss, love, and discovery. He had actually been there my entire life and he was my Dad.