Forty years ago today, my father passed away prematurely. If alive, he would have been ninety six. It was his heart that failed after the arteries got blocked. At the time, 1980, while bypass heart surgery was already available, it was too late for him.
At his passing, I was a fifteen y.o. teenager, and my life turned around overnight. I vividly remember the morning of his passing: my mother panicking, my older brother, who happened to be at home at the time, calling for an ambulance, the wait, the drive to hospital with switching ambulances along the way to one that was better equipped to handle heart-patients, the arrival at the hospital where I was told to stay outside, the attempts to revive my dad, and then a heart-wrenching cry I will never forget, coming out of my mom when she was told the attempts to save him have failed. I remember walking about dazed and confused, unable to comprehend losing my dad.
The days that followed, the burial, the Shiva’, the locked emotions I was unable to express; anger, fear, all boiling inside me at a time when therapy was not common. And then my mom developing a depression, and me alone at the house with her for the following three years (my two older brothers were already living elsewhere.) She closed in her room, and I am pretty much on my own. My mom eventually overcame her depression, although she never got over losing the love of her life.
Over the years I reflected upon how my dad’s death affected my life’s path and who I am today. The scars go deep. It took me years of self-work, including with plant medicine, to release the anger and fear I tucked deep inside at the time. But there were other ways in which my dad’s early passing shaped my perspective. For one, I learned that life should be experienced to its fullest at every single moment, as one never knows when their time is up. It meant that I was less into saving and planning long term, and more into follow my heart at any given moment; for better and, sometimes, for worse…
More so, with my father gone, my life’s path took a very different direction. He was a very strong and opinionated person, wise yet forcing. He picked career paths for both my older brothers, and had one in mind for me. Having our very best in mind, he directed my oldest brother to study electronics at a time when this was still an emerging field, sensing it will be a solid profession for the future. And he was right. Although I am not sure that, in retrospect, this would have been the direction my brother would have selected.
For my middle brother, who had no head for study, my dad picked car mechanics. That turned out to be not the best choice. After bouncing around for a bit, that brother settled for being a taxi driver for many years; a profession he both loved and hated, yet was a good fit.
As for me, the youngest, my dad rightfully saw computers as the rising wave, and he started directing me by his well-intended manipulation to go that path. His premature passing put an end to that. I still pursued my studies at a high-school that catered to students with enhanced academic skills, but found myself drawn more to humanities than to science. After high-school, as is the way in Israel, I did military service. I ended up as a submariner in the Israeli navy. My dad, who had until his retirement, an impressive career in the military, might have approved, but I am not all too sure.
After my service, I spent a couple of years trying to find my direction, and then ended up deciding to study animation in New York. Here too, I would have expected my life’s path to be very different if my father was still alive. He was a sworn Zionist, and me leaving Israel, even if just to study abroad, would have encountered strong resistance on his part. I would have likely never left Israel if he was still alive.
Studying filmmaking in NY, I finished college and decided to stay in the USA, later naturalization as a citizen. Curiously enough, my path led me to get involved with the internet during its very early days, and thus I found myself fulfilling my father’s wishes, working with computers. I guess it’s life’s irony.
Twenty two years later, I made a major career change, and moved on to work as a healer and mindfulness facilitator. I know not what my father would have felt about it. My mother was supportive.
When I look back at my life, and how different it would have been if my father was still alive, I am both grateful and sadden. I am grateful as I led the life that I feel best fits me, yet still sad for the loss of someone I greatly appreciated and with whom I had not enough time. Given a choice, would I have preferred my father to pass at the time that he did, knowing he would object and attempt to block several of my decisions? The answer is no, I would have rather him be alive. Yet, it is not for us, mortals, to decide what the Divine Plan has in store for us. I know today that we depart this world when our time is up; long or short is not our choice. And I accept it. I accept and have faith that things happen exactly in the manner they are supposed to happen. All we can do is observe and learn.
I thank you father for all that you had given me in the limited time we had together, and all that you had given me with your passing. I am grateful.