The anniversary of my father’s death was last month, October 2, and it is the day my life changed forever.
I was 13 years old when I watched my father take his last breath. That night, family had come to welcome my dad home after his return from the hospital for a kidney stone. When everyone left, I heard my parents go up the stairs and into their bedroom.
My room was across the hall our two-story, 10-room house. While trying to go to sleep I heard my mother saying “Vic”, my dad’s name, over and over again. Something prompted me to go into their room. When I walked through the door, I saw my mother giving my father mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. I knew within my heart to stay there until he stopped breathing. Then my mother told me to go downstairs and tell my grandmother, my father’s mother, that my dad had just passed away.
For years, I thought that the prompt I had received to go into my parents’ room was from an angel. Now I realize it was my dad’s presence who came into the room and told me to go into my parents’ bedroom. He wanted me to help my mother, and I did.
From that moment on, I told myself, I have to be strong and I will get through this.
There were so many flower cars in the funeral procession that someone said it looked as if the “mayor” had passed away. I remember that everyone in my freshman high school class attended the funeral; they were from the private girls’ school that my father wanted me to attend. I tried so hard not to cry at the church ceremony. I was embarrassed to show my emotions, so I held back my tears. Because we were children, my mother did not let my brothers and me go to the burial, so I waited in a room alone for all of the guests to come home for the celebration of life.
I return to these memories often, and throughout life’s many difficulties and challenges, I have continued to tell myself to be strong and count my blessings. Just recently when a challenge came up, I embraced this philosophy without question because, after years of growing in awareness, I know to listen to the truth in my heart. Often, our most challenging life events will serve as our strongest pillars of support throughout challenging times—if we are grateful for the wisdom and truths they bring to our consciousness.
Once we learn to appreciate our life lessons and the precious nuggets of gratitude they leave in our heart, we can free ourselves from negative past patterns, stories and beliefs. There is a silver lining behind every cloud, and I hope your heart shines bright as we move into the holiday season.
Arielle Giordano’s new book, Dancing with Your Story from the Inside Out, was released in March 2017. With a Masters of Arts and Masters of Education, Arielle is an author, professional dancer, inspirational speaker, certified Essentrics/Aging Backwards instructor, and workshop facilitator. She enjoys sharing her gifts and talents with an authentic style rich in the grace of dance, psychology, philosophy and the expressive arts. Her career includes: provisional psychologist, guidance counselor and substance-abuse therapist. As a Lead Faculty Area Chairperson and Faculty Member for College of Humanities at the University of Phoenix, she inspired students with her creative gifts. She also writes for Tampa Bay Wellness, We Woman and Transformation Magazine.