A man I grew up calling Phil was more than that, he was my dad at a soul’s point of view….
As the days pass by I have been bathing in deep thoughts honoring the memories leading up to the last breath that left his physical flesh. Illuminating my emotions, reflecting those particular moments that came with a profound sound on the purpose of our journey together….. helping each other heal.
I sense a need to share a personal and unique relationship between my dad and I. Let me take a step back here, I didn’t always call him dad, not until I moved him closer to me in the last 2 ½ years. My husband and I moved him here to Colorado into a retirement/assisted living home to be closer to us, with him being under my care. I listed myself as his daughter, he would tell others with trust and love that I am his daughter. This man’s name is Phil; this is the name I have always called him growing up because he was married to my sister. They both decided to become our legal guardians raising my brother and I when I was 6 years old in addition to giving birth to their own children. I never addressed them as mom & dad, it was my sister Janet and Phil, they took care of us.
In my heart it was always much bigger than that. My sister was always my saving grace, in my eyes she was my angel that always rescued me. These are words and thoughts I never shared out loud, it was just the way I felt. Phil was the one who always provided for my sister so that she could take care of us. He was up leaving to work before sunrise, returning at sundown. He would eat then rest on his chair until bedtime. My sister & Phil went through many heartaches raising my brother and I. Phil’s mother didn’t approve of the idea but it didn’t stop Phil no matter how much grief his mother gave him and my sister Janet. They stood by us, making sure we were included even when others would push us out, leading to many arguments of rejection; from those we call loved ones, causing more pain that was already there before we came into the picture. Then their was my own mother – she was the reason why Janet & Phil decided to raise us. She was a highly dysfunctional alcoholic, always showing up and causing problems, always tearing my sister & Phil down with abusive words and threats.
I, as a very observant child would watch all that was going on around us. I had so much love in my heart for them, my heart would begin to weep for I would hear them fighting mostly over us. Seeing and hearing the family rejecting them constantly, they began to reject each other. Then of course there were life’s daily struggles, finances, health, repairs that needed to happen, and on top of this burden they cared for my brother & me. I would cry myself to sleep so many nights begging God to make things right but nothing would stop, the noise would just get louder. I was full of guilt and shame for I felt like I ruined theirs lives, if just we weren’t in it. At the same time I was grateful and scared to return to what we came from. Janet and Phil wouldn’t have these added problems if it weren’t for us, their kids could have their parents without all the trouble that came with my brother and I. I became quite troubled emotionally, never feeling liked I belonged, those people are right that warned my sister and Phil not to raise us, for it would only bring them more problems. All I wanted was to feel love with peace in the home, I am the root of the problem of this. I started just not caring with no confidence in myself, I definitely believed loving me only comes with obstacles and heartache. Well with this belief system brought on an attitude that only brought on more problems leading them where they were always bailing me out in my mishaps. Which just added more guilt and shame on top of what I was already carrying…Why can’t I make anything right??? Spirit would always tell me I was loved and special, I would cry back yes I know but how does that help me here? So I thought…..
All the guilt and shame I carried with me, I would indulge in more alcohol trying to numb my pain from the cries of my burning heart. If I didn’t pass out I would pray myself into a sleep asking to help me forgive myself, they (spirit) showed me through their love I was already forgiven, it was me that hasn’t been able to forgive myself, therefore I kept punishing myself. I would add to my prayer to please open up a door for me where I can give back to Janet and Phil for all they have done for me. I never knew how, just bless me this opportunity to give back with gratitude for all they have done for me and my brother.
Many years later after my sister passed away, I cried every day for 2 years. She was with me all the time during those years, just as she always was when I was broken. I knew I was holding her back in her own spiritual journey home. I thanked her and would tell her I promise I will speed up my healing and free her to enjoy her place in the heavenly kingdom. I had so many beautiful moments, chats with her, I got to share everything with her regarding how I “really” felt in all those years, what was really neat is I didn’t have to say much she was able to “feel” me, it was just a knowing.
I grew…the day came I said okay.. I can take the steps from here, please don’t stray to far me, I love you always! Thank you for staying with me! The calling in my heart was still there to give back…Phil and I had grown closer, he would come out and visit us quite a bit, he just wanted to get away, he would come for a week, one time stayed 2 weeks; honestly he never seemed in a hurry to leave. He was always known for not having much to say, this is how everyone remembers him – “he just doesn’t say anything” – and I was one of them. During these visits we would sit out back or on the front porch and we would visit, sharing our stories, the guy really was interesting with much to say.
He carried much regret with him. Yes he had his wrongs, but in my eyes he was a Very Good Man! He was very kind, good to me, my husband and my kids. I saw a man that was unselfish, he didn’t ever want for much, what he had he gave to my sister his wife, and us kids, even his winnings from football pools. He would take that money and give it to my sister and tell her to go to Vegas with her friend. Actually he was always pretty lucky at winning things, I always believed it was because he gave from the heart, without any attachments, he just wanted you to be happy and have a good time.
As always life started to change again, I was building a stronger relationship with spirit, healing my wounds, remembering who I am and what I always yearn to do with my life. Our son was graduating from high school and we were in the works of moving to a new state. Meanwhile Phil was drinking much heavier which sank him in the darkness he was trying to battle, alcohol made him weaker with false hope and choices. I was now settled again, he would come out to visit still; only this time a lifetime friend would drive him here. I would see in his eyes they were deep, lost and sad, tears would just flow.. I would tell him he needs to move here with us, he would stare at me for a long while and say oh no honey, I have my home in Tijeras. I would say well we will just have to wait and see…
He was rapidly sinking deeper and deeper to the point of not caring about right and wrong anymore, starving for affection; he then made a poor choice which took all that he had. This is when my husband and I went to NM and picked him and moved him here. All I knew was my heart was fully invested in him. I saw the sadness, fear and shame in eyes that I have known in mine when he and my sister rescued the 6 year old girl in me. I wanted to bring back light into his eyes by showing him pure love and gratitude, I knew I didn’t want him to leave this earth with this feeling in his heart. He was much better and deserving than this, I would do all that I could in the hopes of bringing a smile back in his eyes and love in his heart.
I got him settled and started volunteering at his retirement home so he would get involved in activities. I knew if I was there he would show up and he did, he still had his head down and would cry, each time it would be less and less. He started making jokes with the rest of us and visiting more with others. He started showing up for the activities when I wasn’t there. We would take him out with us on outings, bring him over for the day, have dinner and watch a movie, go out for lunches, sometimes eat at the park. He started sitting up more, engaging in our conversations, laughing out loud, sharing stories or just things that he knew. We all were very comfortable around one another, there was no stress, only love, peace and laughter. I visited him frequently at his place, almost daily. I enjoyed just stopping by when I had time to burn before the next activity on my schedule. We would talk about all my sharing, he would tell me about his Alaska television show he loved watching, or we would just watch a show together.
Meanwhile Phil’s COPD was getting more complicated with more frequent visits to the hospital, we had quite a few close calls with him almost passing away. I was becoming more protective over him, always making sure we were doing everything we could, most of all making sure he knew I loved him and that I was right there for him every step of the way.
One day he had his worst attack, to the point of the doctor was informing me that this may be where we pull everything and release him to God’s hands. We made a choice to give him every treatment possible since we were at this point of making this decision. Phil came through it, the doctor told me if this didn’t get him the next one would. I knew this as well…..I looked into Phil’s eyes that night I told him “Don’t leave me yet” he looked right back and said “Okay, I won’t.”
In the next 3 months Phil was doing really well. He bounced back, of course he was still on oxygen and had many breathing treatments throughout the day. The thing about Phil was he always looked good, considering his health concerns. He was just a guy on oxygen, but in the blink of an eye he would go into one of those breathing attacks gasping for air. He was still coming along in good spirits as I was leaving from of our visits. I was walking out and I could feel deeply another attack was coming very close; I felt that this was it, there was nothing that I could do to stop it.
Within a week he was back in the hospital – this one was different. We were both silent, we would sit there, turn to each other and move our shoulders up and nod our head, both feeling and knowing the same thing. We knew we couldn’t change the outcome, we were out of any extended time. I was frustrated with the doctor on duty, he didn’t understand the extent of damage of his illness. Phil was treated as if he was okay, with comments from the doctor such as, “Oh, he looks fine”. The staff didn’t even have him on the monitors. I would keep bringing it up, feeling restless, I would feel and hear strongly in the whispers of my soul, it doesn’t matter, at this point it won’t help or change anything……
The next day I woke up and shared with my husband a powerful dream I had with spirit radiating love, support and encouragement. They were teaching me using the spirit of a mother bear, allowing me to feel her energy. Feeling her emotions as she was doing what her instincts guided her to do when it came time to let go of her cubs helped me, but it is still never easy, we just know it is time to let go.
I knew this was to tell me it is now time for Phil…..That day he passed.
My prayers have been answered, I just had to be patient for Divine timing for the day to show up. For we all need each other, we heal by giving back from our scared heart without attachments; just pure love and gratitude. My sister Janet and Phil saved me from a dark place in my life, and I was given an opportunity to help Phil in a dark place in his life. We both experience the light and love of healing by giving back.
Thank you Phil for giving me a chance to save myself by rescuing me from my childhood circumstances, and thank you for gifting me the opportunity to be there for you. We made a full circle together recovering our soul’s previous wounds.