Two years ago today my Father died from ALS. I was in the room when he took his last labored breath. In fact, my head was resting on his chest when it happened. An overwhelming and profound moment I'll cherish.
My Father's disease touched every member of my family is an acute way. We knew he was going to die. Dad had been battling the disease for years. We were all there with him. Sharing stories. Crying. Laughing too.
In those final days of his life witnessing the actions of my family taught me how to live a better life.
1. Act with humility.
They didn't obsess over the grief they were feeling. The focused on my Father's life. They thought about his comfort. They offered him humor and relief from his discomfort in any way they could. They helped my Mother.
They thought about everything other than themselves.
2. Show reverence to those you admire.
They thanked my Dad for mentoring them in business and life.
They assured him they would be faithful to fulfill the promise of his expectations.
3. Sacrifice your time and energy with no expectation of anything in return.
They shopped, cooked, cleaned and ran errands. They never complained. They didn't seek accolades.
4. Be courageous with your heart, and take on tasks that are unglamorous.
In his final days, my Father's disease-riddled body had failed him. So they took turns massaging his aching limbs. Even suctioning the pool of saliva he couldn't swallow on his own.
Ugly work that they all found so beautiful. Fighting each other for the honor to help my Dad get more comfortable.
5. Actively show love honor and respect.
They sat with him. Caressing his face. Hugging him. Actively loving him. They whispered in his ear and told him what he meant to them.
They honored him because he had honored them.
6. Be generous with your time, give of yourself and self-sacrifice.
They dropped everything. To be at his side. Jobs, families, responsibilities. For weeks.
Then his health seemed to stabilize, and they went home. Days later his health took a turn for the worse. Then they immediately returned.
They extricated themselves from their lives to honor his.
7. Love ... through sickness and in health.
It took years for the disease to beat him. He never retreated. Pushing, fighting and stomping his way through it. My Mother was by his side every brutal step.
Never wavering. Ever.
My Father was a warrior. My Mother, an inspiration.
They make me want to be better. Every. Single. Day.