My Father Taught Me So Much
We lost my dad, Jim Andrews, twenty years ago today. He was probably the most unhappy person I’ve ever known, and he lived with a lot of unresolved issues, but he had a heart as big as the sky.
My father taught me so much without ever knowing it. He taught me compassion, empathy, to fight for the underdog, and to find peace because he never did; I loved him dearly.
He served his country as a sergeant in the Korean War which my mother believed scarred him and left him with undiagnosed PTSD. At the end of his service, he wanted to bring home a Korean orphan, but my mom said that wasn't a good idea because of having two children under the age of two to raise – but that just shows how much of a caring soul my dad was.
My father was an admitted alcoholic, gamblaholic, and smoker. He quit drinking two years before he died, but he continued to wrestle with his own demons. He died of lung cancer after surviving throat cancer; he smoked until the very end. He used his addictions to try to escape his troubles, but he never discovered how to heal from pain – so I went on a mission to find out.
I spent many years studying depression, anxiety, and addictions. This led me to research relationships and that led me to take communication courses. I learned the most important relationship we have is with ourselves because it impacts every other relationship.
A huge life lesson to learn is compassion for our own suffering – we are then able to extend that to others. By being open and curious we can enter into a place of understanding and connection – I’ve discovered life is all about connection.
My father was suicidal for years, and I, too, was suicidal at times, but no more. On my journey I’ve learned to overcome depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. I’ve come to love myself; I’ve found peace and joy in the many moments of life’s adventure.
I celebrate my father today, the love in his heart lives in mine. I love life, and I know I am superbly blessed. I feel ever so grateful.
“To look life in the face, always to look life in the face and to know what it is, to love it for what it is.” Virginia Woolf