a very personal story, remembering

Again and again I’m asked the question – what if I don’t have a story?

And my answer…always…it’s simple.  You do.  We all do.   You just need to dare to find it…and tell it.

Every life is a story, most are fascinating and amazing – just ordinary lives….

Today, I’d like to tell you a story.  It’s a true story and it’s VERY personal. 

He was a young boy when he realized that school was not for him.  It was a combination of a rebellious nature and a gambling father.  He wasn’t so keen on school and his father kept losing the family’s wealth. 

It was clear that by the age of 15 he needed to go out and start to make a living.  That was quite the norm in those days.

He worked hard and did well in pretty much everything he turned his hand to.  He worked in a garage fixing cars and fantasized about his racing at weekends.  He ran a printing press and a restaurant.  He worked hard and played hard. 

When his temperamental chef walked out on him, a frequent event, he would roll up his sleeves and start to cook.  He worked as a salesman. 

And finally he took over the family business which he ran successfully for years.

He never spent a day in university or college but he was a life-long learner.

He was not an avid reader, though he did read some favorites; but he loved discussing all kinds of ideas; politics, religion, philosophy. 

He had inspiring ideas about love and relationships. 

He was a life-long learner and a teacher.

He is my hero. 

He is my father. 

And today marks 17 years since his very untimely death.

He really was a hero.  When he was a young man and home recovering from chicken-pox; some thieves broke into the family home.  Dad jumped out of his sick bed and started to chase them. 

What was really rare about this event, especially in Ireland in the 1940’s was that they had a gun.

And they shot him.

His luck was that the shooter was a bad shot.

The bullet grazed the top of his head.

And they ran away. I guess that was my luck too!

My luck was also to grow up believing that learning holds treasures beyond imagination and that as we live we learn.  That books have the highest of value and the ideas in them, hold the secrets of life. 

My luck was that I grew up on fascinating, stimulating and challenging conversations around the dinner table and supported by the people who helped me believe that I could become whatever I wanted.

Above all, my luck was that Dad’s curiosity and open mind was accompanied by commitment to his family above all and love.

Thank- you Dad.

Who inspires you?  Who’s your hero?

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7 comments on “a very personal story, remembering

  1. That was a wonderful story! I loved reading about your Dad. I wasn't as lucky in the Dad department. I was raised in an alcoholic, neglectful home. At 14-years-old I was in juvenile hall, at 15 I got kicked out of high school, at 16 I got married and at 17 I had my firstborn son. At 18 my husband abandoned us, and I ended up in the state mental hospital after a suicide attempt. Two weeks upon discharge, I was gang raped. I lost myself in drugs and life on the streets. I got into abusive relationships. I became very seriously mentally ill and then lost both my brother and my father to suicide.

    But the story doesn't end there. I ended up reaching out to God and he became everything to me. He healed me and headed me in the right direction. Later, after raising my children (who are my biggest blessing) I fell down a flight of stairs and broke my neck. I then decided to enter college at 51-years-old and got a degree in psychology (graduating Maxima cum Laude!). Then I was diagnosed with an "inoperable" brain tumor and given one year to live. I decided to look further, and a wonderful neurosurgeon in Los Angeles too it out and saved my life. But I was very disabled…couldn't walk, couldn't see, deaf in one year, very fatigued. So I lay in bed and earned my masters degree. I am now a psychotherapist in private practice.

    And the best part…after all those years I realized how my parents got to the point in their lives where they turned to alcohol. I forgave them both and my heart filled with love for both of them. My father never made it past the eighth grade. He was smart, and started a plastics molding company with a friend. He was the manager for many years, and then tragedy struck. The plant caught on fire. My father ran in to save a young man and almost burned his leg off. They saved his leg but after that he was in excruciating pain for the rest of his life. He could not even have a blanket touch his leg. He was on pain medication, but I do believe he turned to alcohol to help himself cope even more. He shot himself when he was 51-years-old. No matter what happened in our family, I always loved him dearly.

    Sorry this is so long. When you wrote about your father, I thought of mine and wanted to share.

  2. There is no doubt that my hero is my paternal grandmother. Some of my earliest memories are of me sitting in her kitchen while I watch her go about her daily chores of cooking, cleaning, and washing, and listen to her talking. My grandmother was always talking … not always about something grand, exiting or dramatic, but just about her thoughts and daily experiences. She could talk with anyone about anything. Once in a while, however, she would zoom in on her youth and her experiences as a young girl in a small town in the midst of Jutland during WWII. Then she would stop her chores and look at me, while telling me about how she helped hide resistance people in an tuberculoses asylum, or about how my grandfather fell in love with her, when he as a young, shy boy saw her in a grocery store and saw her impressive breasts resting on the counter, or about how she was visited by her mother’s ghost on the night of her mother’s death.

    I remember her stories vividly … they made me see her in a different light, as someone else than an elderly, heavy-set, caring woman who loved me deeply. I would picture a young, brave girl facing life’s challenges with courage and a smile. And I, as a little girl, would listen with awe and love her even more intensely for it.

    I don’t know how much of these stories where actually the truth – and to me, it really doesn’t matter – it was the act of telling them to me, that made her important to me. Not least because her sharing them with me made me feel important. And, I do believe they haboured elements of truths about who she was, who she had wanted to be, and what life was like back when her dreams were still young. And, most importantly, they made us connected … part of that brave, young girl is living inside me today. And writing about her makes me miss her even more.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your stories about your grandmother, what a wonderful picture you showed us of those special times…truly a gift! the power of connection through story never ceases to amaze me! Much love, Lisa

  3. Hello Lisa, Thank-you for sharing your story. I know from you how important your Dad was and hearing more back ground was beautiful and brought tears to my eyes and a deeper understanding of why you miss him so.
    I am glad you are writing stories out again instead of just video. I don’t know why exactly but for me, I still love a written story to read and imagine as I read through it.
    many blessings, Kate

    • Thanks for your comment and feedback Kate. I also missed this format, so back here for a while!!! very best wishes, Lisa

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