Last week, I wrote how you can lose your shit in paradise. This week, after receiving a Balinese blessing at Tanah Lot Temple, I can honnestly ay... there are worse things you can lose in paradise.
I Told Him Stories
I've traipsed around 49 countries on my own dime, taking my coaching clients along for the ride. For a shy, highly-sensitive, anxiety and depression prone introvert, I'm in awe that I'm still alive, that the world has not swallowed me whole yet.
I knew a storm was passing through the island, so I called home to coordinate the sale of my couch. I'm a minimalist. I want to be free! Usually mom picks up the phone, but this time dad picked it up. I told him about my iPhone + ocean mishap, the search and rescue.
He, of course, spiraled into scarcity and fear. And for the first time in my life, I cut him. No, dad. No more "poor immigrant with $5 in my pocket" sob story. No more! No more "the world is out to swindle you" victim story. No more!
Then I told him:
- my cell phone company nulled the $500 balance owed on my old phone (which they don't normally do)
- they gave me a brand new phone for $500 (which they don't normally do either)
- the phone was ready for pick in 24hrs and my bestfriend will bring it to me in Bali in 48 hours
- my luck in arriving at the treasury office 6min before closing and back to the police station 3 min before closing)
- my insurance company granted me full coverage for the lost phone
- I'm now sipping a mango banana smoothie
All this grace and good fortune, how lucky am I?!? He laughed.
Paradise Meets Heaven
Two days later, I received a flurry of Facebook messages and emails, via my iPad to call home. My family couldn't text or call because my iPhone was in its watery grave in the ocean.
So I called home. My brother, the little guy whose diapers I changed and whose snot I wiped off said, "Baba is gone."
I had no idea that our phone call (prompted by a Craigslist ad for my couch) would be the last time we ever spoke.
Banff, AB, Canada 1982 © Ellany Lea
Eight million thoughts exploded in my mind, all at the same time:
1. At 71, dad was retired, wasn't on any meds and whistled in the garden. We were sure we'd have another 10 years with him.
2. Sigh. He always had a terrible sense of timing, my dad. Always.
3. Thank everything that is holy that I invested thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars on self-development, on healing family of origin issues, on releasing resentment and blame, that our last conversation was filled with laughter.
4. Oh dad, you also sucked at reading the space. C'mon, I'm on week 3 of a 16-week around-the-world Exquisite Freedom tour. You couldn't have waited 12 weeks?
5. If I were to die, I'd want to do it just like you did: wake up, have breakfast with my spouse, lie down for a nap on my favorite couch at home, and peacefully slip away.
6. Even though I couldn't be the perfect eldest doctor son you wanted, you were beyond perfect in your passing: you spared us from a painful, drawn-out process of hospital visits and torment. Thank you for never putting us in a situation of having to decide whether or not to pull the plug.
7. Dad, you can stop worrying now. You are free. You see, despite my shenanigans, I own property, I have tons of savings, I lost my iPhone in the ocean and my bestfriend hand deliver it to me in Bali within 48 hours. I've never told you about the the Kenya/Tanzania border, the guards, the guns, and I'm still just fine. So you can rest in peace now.
8. On my failed attempts to live up to the life you wanted me to have, I've gained the tools to surrender to grace and uncertainty and to be hella strong. Thanks to you, I'm living fully, with wild abandon, into wholeness and enlightenment. And so are my clients.
9. I'm in shock. But my clairvoyance comforts me. In September, when I was finalizing my October 31 departure, I had a feeling someone would pass away while I was abroad. I felt it. Little did I know that it'd be you, baba. This pre-knowing brings me peace. I am the calm in the storm. I am the love in the pain. I am the kindness in the chaos.
10. Today is the day I stopped over-functioning. I stepped down from co-parent role, I became a sister. I stepped down from co-spouse role, I became a daughter. I stepped down from marriage counselor, I became a girl. I no longer have the desperate need to run home and rescue. I can't anyway, with time zones and trans-pacific flights. Everyone is capable. They'll handle it without me. We'll all be ok. My heart is finally at peace. I lived every day without regret and our last conversation was filled with magic and laughter.
11. Your greatest and last gift to us was liberation. Thank you for liberating yourself, us and me especially, from a lifetime of "not good enough", pain, struggle, and scarcity. I felt it lifted off my shoulders 22 hours after your passing, like little charcoal colored micro-beads. I even heard the sound like beads make as they roll around. I don't know how you did it, but you released me!
In the next hour, 7,999,989 more thoughts followed.
On my flight home to dad's funeral, I was re-listening to Echart Tolle's A New Earth. There was a passage on how parent's ego unconsciously manipulate their children:
I want you to achieve what I never achieved.
I want you to be somebody in the eyes of the world so that I too can be somebody through you.
Don't disappoint me, I sacrificed so much for you.
My disapproval of you is intended to make you feel so guilty and uncomfortable that you finally conform to my wishes.
And it goes without saying that I know what's best for you.
I love you and will continue to love you if you do what I know is right for you.
Hearing this made me sob. Hearing this made me whole. I've been on the receiving end of every one of these unconscious manipulations. I know they were unconscious. And with your passing, baba, 30 years of shame and blame within me died. You truly freed me with your death. Now there is only love left.
Goodbye at 35,000 feet
At 35,000 feet, in the puffy white clouds, watching the sunset, I said goodbye to my baba.
I wondered who will walk me down the aisle when/if I get married. And I sobbed.
I wondered what kind of grandfather he would have been (a terribly contrary one I'm sure, who'd go against every parenting value I have). And I sobbed.
And I wondered what I'd say if asked to speak at his funeral. And I sobbed.
I think I'd say:
Dad, I wasn't ready. I wasn't ready for you to leave.
I'm going to miss you. We all will. But we will be fine. We will all be more than fine.
Rest in peace now. It's finally time to rest in peace.
It's time to stop struggling. It's time to stop fearing. It's time to be at peace.
We love you and we know you loved us. See you again someday, baba.
Of Course You Keep Living
I've told a few close friends and my Llama tribe about this passing. How do you drop a bomb like this on the people you love most? I don't know... You just drop the bomb.
Thank you for the outpour of love. It has been my saving grace.
Some expect me to be shattered and broken. I'm not. I've been through much, much worse, and very, very often. I've lost count of all my losses.
And now, my bestfriend and I will lie on a beach in Bali, listen to the waves crash, and howl at the full moon. What divine orchestration!! Just because his life ended does not mean mine does. Of course you keep living. With even greater abandon, freedom and love.