Now that a little time has passed since the death of my step father, I have been tempted to watch the dvd of the funeral. I have mentioned the funeral in a previous post. The chapel where his funeral was conducted recorded it and provided it. When we first received the copy I really wanted to watch it. In a way I felt like I didn’t have a funeral, I didn’t get to sit and watch the slide-show, listen to my sister sing and cry. But then I realised that I would have to sit there and listen to my own voice and watch myself stumble on parts of the service that no one else but I know, that I delivered wrong.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve really been focusing on the things that he did in his life that I want to do. The things that he stood for that I want to stand for. The question is really how to translate those things into my life in order to be a better person, because he was such a significant part of my life. Most importantly, how to make myself more of the person that I would want to meet.
I’ve spent time reminiscing about funny things that he would do and say. Lately, he has come up a lot in conversation, in places that I might not expect. But he taught me so much about life. At the time I didn’t realise it and couldn’t appreciate properly the life lessons that he was teaching me without even realising that he was imparting these important lessons. Some of these lessons I adopted by watching him, and the way that he approached the things that happened in his life.
One thing that stands out to me is that we have no control over the way people respond to us, and as much as we want to, we have no control if they love or forgive us. No matter how much this breaks our heart we cannot change that. I saw this with my step father and some of his sons. I admit I don’t know, or want to know the pain that he may have caused them in their lives before he came into my life, but I certainly saw the tears that he shed over not having a relationship with them, and after reaching out and trying to make amends. I saw the relationship that he shares with 2 of his sons, and wish that the others could have given him a chance to show them some of the wonderful man that he was.
Another thing that he taught me is the real meaning of family. Your family are those that you love and those that love you in return. It doesn’t matter how much blood you share, it is what is in your heart. His side of the family is complex. My husband took about 10 years to get his head around who was a half sister to who. There were a lot of questions like, “so that is your step-half cousin?” but in our family, family is just what we are, no half step cousins or step siblings for me, they are my cousin and brothers, that is it. It took me quite a long time to accept that they saw me as their family too, but there have been a number of moments that I felt true joy, when I realised that they looked upon me with the same love that I have for them.
He was an amazing man, who lived by example, he gave his love freely, to his family, his friends and to people that no- one else would love, or even speak to. He didn’t have a lot, but if someone needed something he would give it to them, or go without so that they wouldn’t. If you would have asked him he would have told you that he wasn’t a book educated man, he was a man that learnt from the experience of life, lessons which he learned from and used to improve his life and himself. If there was only one life lesson that I could take from him, I think I would choose to learn from the things life deals you and make yourself better from it.