Fernando Schaffenburg ~ April 2, 1925 – March 6, 2009

Letting go of my late father is the hardest experience I’ve dealt with thus far in my life. So hard, in fact, that I was unwilling to accept it for a year and a half. It wasn’t until my first memoir writing class in New York where I started delving into my self, that it hit me. Clear as day.

Up until then I thought I had accepted his tragic death but turns out, I hadn’t. I’d merely run away from the pain and covered it up. So from that moment on, with the assistance of a wonderful therapist, I began to heal.

And the writing process helped enormously. By putting words to a page, I was forced to accept the reality of my life. The reality of which my father was no longer physically a part of. A reality I had always thought, I would never survive.

But it wasn’t until a year later watching a clip from Oprah’s Lifeclass that I was finally able to let go. Fully let go.

You see, the main reason I’d had such a hard time letting him go, besides the fact that he knew me better than anyone else on this planet, was the injustice of his death. It was the fault of the doctors or else he might still be with us today, on his birth day. But, he fell victim to malpractice.

So as you can imagine, there was a lot of anger. But once I saw Gary Zukav on Lifeclass coaching a young mom who was stuck in the loss of one of her two-day old twins, it hit.

Her inability to move forward was keeping the whole family tied up in the events of the past. But Zukav urged her to be grateful, as painful as it was. To see it as a gift that this soul came to be with her. That this soul chose her and no one else. That time is not what mattered but that she was able to share a life with this beautiful being, if only for a few short days.

In short, Zukav changed the mother’s perspective. From one of lack and loss, to one of gratitude. And this is what sent her forward on her healing process. And consequently, propelled mine forward as well.

I was finally able to see how lucky I was to have been blessed with such a magnificent father. Grateful that I was gifted with 31 years of my life with him. And grateful that he lived to the age he did.

I can now fully celebrate his life instead of grieve.

Letting go of a loved one is never easy but if we can see the gift that we’re given, instead of the gift that was taken away, we ensure the reality of just one death. Instead of two. Not sacrificing our lives for the loss of another but fully and joyfully moving forward with the gift of our own life.

I know this isn’t an easy subject, but I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’d like to share.

For a clip of the video that rocked my world, click here.

For a valuable resource on grief, click here.