A life inspired: in memory of my Dad.
As I’m grieving, I’m also remembering so much about my Dad, our time spent together, our laughs, and our tender moments. Here’s one of my favourite pictures of us. He truly was a great guy, and he could make me laugh like no one else ever could. I miss all of this, and I always will. I think people we love always stay in our hearts, even if they’re physically no longer with us.
He wore a lot of different hats in his lifetime: a university professor, a scientist, an author, an activist, an adventurer, a world traveller…I could go on. The point is that he lived his life to the fullest, and I’m so proud of him for everything he’s done.
He’s always been my hero, and I learned so much from him. I wanted to share some of this with you, because it all adds up to a recipe for ‘living a life inspired’, which most of us desire and strive for.
Have the courage to go beyond your comfort zone: You know that saying ‘Life begins right outside your comfort zone’, right? That was definitely my Dad’s mantra, and it became mine, as well. I remember when years ago I got a contract job for the Cayman Islands Government, and was wondering if I should accept it. It meant I’d have to relocate all by myself to a different country I hardly knew anything about, and where I didn’t know a soul. I asked my Dad what he thought, and I’ll never forget his answer: “Well, I can’t tell you if this is the right job for you Julia, but if you don’t take it…you will never find out.” Such seemingly simple and obvious words, but they made all the difference to me. I took the job, because of what he said. It wasn’t an easy move, but also turned out to be one of the biggest adventures of my life! I ended up living in the Cayman Islands and working as a Business Systems Analyst for over four years, and loved it. A couple of months ago I had a chance to tell my Dad how much his words had meant to me. I’m so glad I did. Thank you Dad!
Drop the excuses…and go for it: my Dad has always been a role model for me of how pretty much anything is possible if you want it badly enough. He’s always been an eternal optimist, pretty much to the last day of his life. Nothing was ever a deterrent, least of all lack of cash on hand. My Dad was a master at using credit to his full advantage, and he always paid it back. That’s how he financed our unforgettable tour of Europe for my eighteenth birthday years ago. That trip became the inspiration for my travels later in life. Who knows what my life would have looked like, had it not been for that adventure. Life is so short, and then it’s gone. Live it to the fullest every day!
Take an active role in your community: my Dad was always involved, be it in the student community at the university he taught at, or the Polish community in Montreal. He was a great proponent of democracy, equal rights, integrity, and a fair deal. He was a pacifist, and had an incredible talent for dissipating conflict. He was a humanitarian in every sense of the word, and I am so proud of him for that. He taught me that everyone has a voice, and has a right to use it; that it’s not only our right, but our human obligation to stand up and tell our truth, even if our voice may not be the most popular one. Our world today really needs people who are willing to speak up, who have the courage to do so.
Let your brilliance shine through your work: my Dad never stopped working, even though he retired almost twenty years ago. He always had at least two or three project on the go at any one time. From the new climate change theory, or the new method of playing Bridge, to writing his auto-biographical book, his mind was always actively working. He wanted to leave a legacy, and he accomplished that brilliantly. His interests and passions were vast, and his curiosity endless. His body might have got weaker with time, but his mind remained as sharp as ever. He always impressed me and inspired me with his relentless pursuit to extend the frontiers of human knowledge. I’ve learned that we all have our unique brilliance that we need to share with the world. It’s our right and our obligation.
I wanted to share these few memories of my Dad’s life not only because it helps me grieve, but also because I’d like his life to be an inspiration for others. He would have liked that, even though he was a very unassuming man.
Those who leave us get to live on in our hearts and our memories, as we carry them forward and honour them in this way. They’re not forgotten, and their legacy is not lost. Each one of us is a living, breathing cell of this vast Universe of ours. As an old cell dies, a new one is born, and the memory gets passed on through the DNA. Nothing is ever lost.
Rest in Peace Dad. I love you.