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The Human Experience: Dealing With The Death of a Loved One and Healing Through Love

Updated on April 29, 2012
My father's side of the family....all gone now.
My father's side of the family....all gone now. | Source
My dad and grandmother
My dad and grandmother | Source
Aunt Lois and Uncle Miles
Aunt Lois and Uncle Miles | Source
Great, great grandparents on the O'Dowd side of the family
Great, great grandparents on the O'Dowd side of the family | Source
Mom, Dad, sister Darlys and me
Mom, Dad, sister Darlys and me | Source
The youngster is now the patriarch of the family
The youngster is now the patriarch of the family | Source

Aunt Lois died when I was six in 1954. Grandpa O’Dowd died in 1956 when I was eight and Grandma O’Dowd two years later. Grandma Holland died in Charles City, Iowa on Christmas Eve, 1962 and her oldest son, my Uncle Donald Holland, died in 1965.

My father, Dale Leroy Holland, died in January, 1969 and his brother and my Uncle Les in 1973. Aunt Vi Holland in 1974. I am uncertain when my Uncle Miles O’Dowd died but I believe it was in 1990. My mother died in 2003 and my sister, Darlys, in 2007.

Both parents, my sister, all grandparents and all uncles and aunts, dead; some of my cousins, my son, my nephews and my nieces all remain but of the Holland and O’Dowd families I stand as the oldest remaining family member. I am in fact the patriarch of the family and that in itself is a strange thing for this author to write. How could that be? It seems only yesterday I was the baby of the family; now that family has all passed on leaving me the elder statesman for a legacy started so many generations ago.

Along that same path I have lost countless close friends, several by suicide, many to cancer and heart disease, and I stood at the gravesite of a fiancé in 1997. I held my father in my lap as he died from a heart attack, held my mothers’ hand as she passed on and stood in numbed silence as casket after casket was lowered into the ground over the years, leaving me at times angry, at times sad, at times helpless and searching for any semblance of a grand plan that made sense of it all.

IT STARTED WHEN I WAS SO YOUNG

Perhaps I was just too young when I lost my relatives in the Fifties and Sixties. Death really has very little meaning when you are an adolescent. I remember spending countless hours at the hospital on a “death watch” as several slipped on but I don’t recall any deep emotions over it. They seemed ancient at the time and I suppose a part of me expected people to die at a certain age; add to that the fact that a strong emotional bond had not formed with those relatives. They seemed to be on the periphery of my life when they died and I do not recall grieving over their deaths but rather a feeling of normalcy, that one should expect the old to die and that was just the way things happened in the natural order of life.

I was definitely not prepared for what happened on January 9, 1969. Nothing could have prepared me for the death of my father when I was twenty years of age.

A COMPLETE REALITY SHIFT

The foundation of my life died in my arms and I simply was not prepared emotionally or psychologically for the death of my father. How could I be? It’s one thing to lose a grandparent who always seemed to be on the outside looking in and quite another to lose a parent who had supported you, sacrificed for you and loved you in every way possible. I had no safety net to fall back on; my mother was in worse shape than I was and in no way could she provide comfort for me. Instead, it was I who had to be her pillar of strength, leaving me little time to properly mourn. His death shook me to my core and left me with unresolved issues for decades. The sense of loss was overwhelming and I quite literally lost my compass by which I had always navigated.

One thing was for certain: I would never again take life for granted. I walked away from my dad’s gravesite with a firm grasp on the fact that life was tenable at best and there were no guarantees. I also believe I walked away from his grave that day with protective armor firmly in place. If I couldn’t prevent death from happening I could at least detach myself emotionally so that the pain I had experienced would never again visit me.

THE DETACHMENT CONTINUED

Do we do that intentionally? Detach from our emotions? I don’t believe so! Not once did I sit down after my dad’s death and make a conscious decision to protect myself from harm, but looking back I know for a fact that’s what I did.

Death continued as the years went by but they did not affect me with such force; they were not allowed to. The deaths of other relatives and friends were simply pages in the book of life. I was saddened of course but certainly not struck down with grief. The page was turned and the book of my life continued, for I had erected a formidable fortress around me to keep out heartache.

There is a price that has to be paid, however, when we take such actions for self-preservation, and that price is paid in so many ways. Detachment by its very nature means an absence of feeling; it is to negate part of what we are. Although protected from crippling pain we also cheat ourselves of the joy that comes from total emersion in the human experience. It is a system of bartering whereby we trade away the risk of pain and receive in return only a small measure of happiness.

AND SO WE COME FULL-CIRCLE

Eventually, for me, the loss of happiness was worse than the possibility of pain. For my own survival I had to once again embrace life and all the pain that is inherent in it, for only by doing so could I possibly embrace complete love of another. I had to be willing to risk excruciating pain if I could ever experience the kind of love I so desperately needed. What kind of rotten deal is that I asked myself! It did not seem fair and yet I knew it was the only way if I was to completely enter the game of life once more.

So today I risk it all by loving completely. I have opened my heart and soul and invited the pain that is sure to come but at the same time I have found unbridled happiness. One cannot heal without first bleeding and I have bled far too often but I am in fact healing. I love my son completely. I love Bev completely. Is there a risk? Of course! There are no guarantees and I could lose one of my loved ones today. That is why it is so vitally important that I make the most of my time with them. Sudden death like the death of my father is an excellent lesson in not taking life for granted.

Today I savor every moment I have with my loved ones. My heart swells when I am with them and when I am not I miss them and look forward to the next time. I tell them continually that I love them and then I show them with my actions. I am on a mission, to squeeze every ounce of enjoyment out of my remaining time with those I love.

AND IF?

And if I lose one of them today? What then? Well, then I will celebrate the time I was allowed to spend with them and remember the wonder that occurred when two people opened their hearts and welcomed the arrival and cultivation of love.

My sponsor in Alcoholics Anonymous died two years ago, as kind and loving a man as I have known in my lifetime. He unselfishly gave me support and unconditional love for seven years and single-handedly taught me how to reclaim my life. I was able to see him the day before he died and he told me then that we would not waste our last moments together wallowing in sadness but instead we would sit in gratitude for the time we had spent together. Isn’t that beautiful? I was at an AA meeting today and I saw his face on the Memory Board and I thought of that last time and I smiled in joy for having shared a part of this great man’s life.

Yes, I am the patriarch of the Holland/O’Dowd family. The baby of the clan finally grew up and now contemplates the years to come when eventually the torch will be passed to the next in line. It has become important to me that the legacy of that family not only continue but that it be remembered as a legacy of loyalty to one another…..of commitment to one another…..and of unconditional love for one another.

To my son, my nephews and my nieces, I say this: this legacy of which I speak will soon be in your hands. Will you treat it with the reverence it deserves? Embrace your family members. Tell them today and often that they are loved! Wring every last drop of life out of the time you have here on Earth because it is a precious gift not to be wasted. Allow yourself the risk of pain for the rewards of love.

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

For more on The Human Experience:

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/The-Human-Experience-My-Mom-and-Dad

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/The-Human-Experience-A-Mothers-LoveMy-Sister-Darlys

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    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

      Hi Bill - beautifully expressed sentiments, your family has itself a fine patriarch. Great job!

      Voted up

    • profile image

      ScottHough 5 years ago

      William:

      This is such a well written, love-ridden piece. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

      How could anyone read this and not be drawn to thoughts of their own parents? My parents and I aren't on speaking terms. My son is the only one of his generation in our family. For some reason, my parents have absolutely no emotional attachment to him.

      It is so heartening to know that people of your age do love and regale in the lives and memories of their family.

      One of the best pieces I've read for a long time. I really enjoy your style. Best wishes with your new love.

      SH

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I found you statement, one cannot heal without first bleeding, so profound. My sister and I were just discussing this truth yesterday, without the pain your will never be able to heal or move forward. Many people try to mask the pain with by other means, only to keep themselves bound. Yes, opening your heart, is a risk, but one well worth it. My sister blogged on this "run with your heart wide open" on our blog spot and she had similar reflections of this sentiment. Enjoyed this one so much, Billybuc. Thanks for the beautiful thoughts. Voted up all around!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Judi, you may not know this but I have a very small group of Hubbers who I respect as people and you are one of them. You touched me very early on, not only with your writing but with your character. I admire you and I am pleased that you liked this hub. Have a wonderful weekend across the Pond.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Scott, thank you very much! I do not know you but I am going to make an attempt to get to know you starting right now. I'm sorry about your parents; I am fully aware of how lucky I was and am. Thank you for your kind words and blessings to you this fine weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      "Run with your heart wide open"....that, Teaches, is beautiful. So sorry I didn't think of it. :) You may not know how much I appreciate you but I do and my respect for you grows daily. Have a wonderful weekend in sunny Florida and we will enjoy our 55 degrees and live it to the fullest.

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

      Billybuc! I have no doubt that in this hub, you have captured the feelings and emotions of those of us that don't have the ability - or courage - to express them as you have. Undoubtedly you are a fine patriarch and a really good man.

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

      Bill, that's touched me and made my day. The respect and admiration is mutual, I am glad to say. Wishing you and your lovely lady a great weekend too.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Billybuc, I am glad that we have hooked up through HP, your life experiences have really blessed my life. I do pray for you and your lovely wife -- you have so much to carry and accomplish. Thanks for the well wishes, we are off to celebrate our 40th this weekend -- will probably do a post on this. Keep warm and safe.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Bill, another wonderful, thought provoking hub from you. Your message to your nieces and nephews and your sons is one of the most important messages of all - tell your family and friends what they mean to you -I've said it before, I'll say it again here - only people matter, everything else is just 'stuff'.

      Voted up and shared.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dexter, those are beautiful words of praise and they humble me. I'm not sure about the courage comment for me...it's just a matter of reaching a point in life where I can not use fear as an excuse any longer. I'm not sure if that makes sense but it is how I feel. Thank you very much and blessings to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Judi; I was looking at your pictures on Facebook...what a beautiful child you were....easy to see where the beauty of today came from...but it's what is inside that package that is truly remarkable.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Teaches, it slipped my mind....Happy 40th and may you find happiness together for another forty.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jools, you definitely get it! All the rest is just stuff! I agree completely. Wishing you happiness this weekend and may love always be your most coveted possession.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      This hub actually brings back many memories for me. I think I've told you I grew up in a nursing home. On Christmas vacation my sophomore year, one of my favorite patients my mom had, "Sunshine," quite literally died in my arms. I didn't know how to do CPR. Two days later, my dad suffered a massive heart attack followed by quintuple bypass surgery. Then, not two weeks later, my grandmother passed away. I got into every college I applied to because my essay was about my relationship with "Sunshine" and her death in my arms. I never again saw life in the same way. I never again took anything for granted and it taught me about what was important. I also think it fostered the dreamer in me and that living by societal expectations and always following the rules is hardly a guarantee of happiness, how you will spend your golden years, or whatever. I also feel like at 15 years old, when all that happened, it made me quite old for my years, but an observer of life and to pursue happiness. Great hub and thanks for taking me down memory lane. :)

    • shea duane profile image

      shea duane 5 years ago from new jersey

      Wonderful hub. So insightful. "Although protected from crippling pain we also cheat ourselves of the joy that comes from total emersion in the human experience." I agree. The possibility of joy outweighs the threat of pain.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cyndi, you are one of my favorites on this site and I am so happy that we are friends and kindred spirits. Have a wonderful weekend my friend and may you always carry the thought of Sunshine in your heart.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shea, thank you so much. I'm happy that you could relate to my message of love overpowering fear of pain. Blessings to you my friend.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Absolutely brilliant Billy ;it was so nice to share in your family generations;so wonderful to have so many memories to cherish.

      Here's to so many more stories and friendship for a long time to come.

      Say hi to Bev from me and enjoy your weekend.

      Eddy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you my dear Eddy, whose friendship means the world to me. I shall tell Bev of your well-wishes and I hope little Ellie is feeling better soon. Say hello to Dai for me and tell him one day I am expecting a tour of your wonderful village when I come to visit.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Oh Billy it would be so nice to meet up wouldn't it and who knows !!!

      Your friendship means the world to me too and I promise 100% that my leaving HP will not alter this at all.I have many positives about HPs and the most precious are my wonderful friends;and friendship isn't just about exchanging hubs ;it is far more precious than that and we have our dreams to live and we will do this together .I forgot to say on my other comment that I love Bev's plan of your farm;isn't it such fun and I feel like a child so excited and why shouldn't we be!

      Take care my very dear friend;enjoy your weekend;you deserve it.

      Eddy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy, the wonder of being this age is the realization that every single day must be lived with every ounce of enjoyment that is in us. We are going to have a fabulous day taking pictures and dreaming of the future. I agree, our friendship goes way beyond HubPages and will endure.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Wow.. this had to be very difficult to write. I didn't experience the death of anyone until my 20's but I had several cherished pets who died and I thought that was devestating until I starting loosing friends and family. I have lost very many.. but none harder than my Grandmother to whom I was very close. This is a very well written and touching hub.

    • onegreenparachute profile image

      Carol 5 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

      Billy: what a wonderful way to write about the meaning of life. Your emotions come through so clearly. Thank you.

    • EclecticFusion profile image

      Lisa 5 years ago from Tennessee

      This made me tear up a bit just thinking about my losses. I love that you included the personal photos! That just made this even more awesome! Great work!

    • profile image

      idratherbe 5 years ago

      Excellent hub and a must read for all! voted up!

    • Maralexa profile image

      Marilyn Alexander 5 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

      billybuc, William, this is truly one of the finest articles I have read. You write so beautifully and express your heart so meaningfully. To say "thank you" is really not enough but, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

      I began a hub about six months ago (inspired by another hubber) in which I have tried to express what it meant to lose my father when I was 19 years old. I am a little older than you are now and still feel a deep sense of loss. Your hub has given me a new thought about how to express my experience in a way that is meaningful to me.

      Because I too could only bear the pain of loss by detachment (I understand a little of what you must have gone through)I have not the joy (and pain) of having a son or daughter. So now I find tremendous value in my brother's family and my cousins' families, through which the legacy of my families will flow.

      Your words about knowing real joy when going through the pains and sadness of life, I too experienced when my finance died 5 years ago.

      I truly love life now and believe I am a richer person for my experiences.

      So once again, Thank You. I wish you great happiness with your loved ones!

      Marilyn (Maralexa)

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Wow. Simply beautiful. So many profound pearls of wisdom you've included here. I'll have to come back for a re-read to absorb all of them. Wowwww....

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Bill sorry to hear about your losses and am happy that all this has taught you in a positive way. You look at the happy moments when with family. Totally get it, my friend.

      Wishing you many beautiful memories ahead...amen!!!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Tammy! No one can ever accuse me of sidestepping the tough subjects in life. :) You know by now how much I appreciate you so I'll simply say, once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Onegreen, thank you so much! Your words touch me and for me that's what writing is all about.

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      Ooh very profound - allow yourself the risk of pain in order to fully gain the benefits of love. This is something I will have to work on. I think I love others fully - yet I am shut off from certain things. So can I really and truly be loving fully? Thanks for giving me something to think about!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lisa, thank you! I appreciate your words and you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Idratherbe, thank you for the kind words. I appreciate you stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marilyn, we do have quite a bit in common. If my words have helped in some small way then I am the grateful one. The lessons learned in life are really pretty worthless if we can't share them and hopefully help someone else by doing so. Thank you so much and I look forward to reading your hubs as well.

      Blessings and peace to you and yours

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, Jama, thank you so much. I look forward to your return...as always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruchira, life is good. The obstacles and losses just reinforce that simple truth for me...life is good.

      And it's so good to have you as a constant friend and supporter. Thank you!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is a beautiful story, told without reservations. As you say, " Death is eminent " What really matters is how you have lived, meaning, happy, loving, giving or so full of regrets that you cannot move forward. It appears you have accomplished that..Good for you...Cheers

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ardie, I think we all shut off from certain things and I don't necessarily think that means we don't love fully. There's only a finite amount of love we can give...true love that is...anyway, food for thought. Thank you my friend; I always smile when I see that you have stopped by.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, thank you my dear! You are a good person with a huge heart and the ability to see beauty in life. That is a gift!

    • Fennelseed profile image

      Annie Fenn 5 years ago from Australia

      Bill, your words here should be read by everyone battling with deep grief. I am such person and your powerful message resonates in me. I have been trying to fight off that protective shell from forming as I know it is not the way.

      "Detachment by its very nature means an absence of feeling; it is to negate part of what we are"

      Yes, I know you are right in your reasoning. Are you familiar with 'The Phophet'? Kahlil Gibran says there:

      "Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight"

      There are times recently when I have felt an euphoria that I have never experienced before. Strangely for me I feel during these times that pain and happiness become one. I think possibly that I am feeling happiness to its very fullest because I am also feeling pain at its greatest. I hope in time I will move into that mindspace permanently.

      It is what you speak of here and what Gibran describes in the "Prophet".

      I hear you, I learn and I thank you. Your dear Dad must be so very proud of you. My very best wishes to you Bill, keep doing what you are doing as you are touching many people. My votes and sharing :)

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I know someone who is suffering from some very deep grief right now, so I am sharing this article with her. She is so sad right now and your story will hopefully provide some comfort that she will make it through. Your story of moving from detachment to love is inspiring.

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 5 years ago from Finland

      I live very close to my parents and I visit them as often as I can. The older I get, the more I appreciate having my parents around. Two of my grandparents past away before I was born and two of them when I was a child.

      I really enjoyed reading this hub. I'm sure you are a very good patriarch who many looks up to and respect.

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 5 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      What a great hub on the human experience, thanks Billy, you write great inspirational stuff. Thumbs up and shared.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Annie, thank you for your words and for opening your heart and sharing an important experience. I'm never quite sure that I have answers; I only have thoughts based on my experience, strength and hope. Turns out that my thoughts and questions are the same that everyone has...there is very little difference in any of us...we all struggle with the same things and we all find the answers from whatever source is available.

      I'm sorry for your pain. There is no time limit on it and I hope for you that time limit becomes shorter soon. Blessings and peace to you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Truth, I hope it helps. It is so hard to climb out of that pit of depression and sadness. Thank you for sharing and blessings to you.

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      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      bill....I kept passing over this hub....didn't especially like the title....didn't really want to read it. But, I did.....and I'm the one who wrote about listening to one's intuition.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Made thank you for so much....but especially for being who you are!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, you are welcome and thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, I know! I didn't even expect you to read this but I did think of you. Take care my friend and thank you for your friendship.

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      Sueswan 5 years ago

      Hi Billy,

      This one touched me deeply.

      Through your words you have beautifully illustrated how precious life is.

      My dad died in 1999. We had our differences but we worked through them. The last words my dad and I said to each other were " I love you."

      I believe that your loved ones here and in heaven are very proud of the job that your are doing as the patriarch of the family.

      Best wishes to you and Bev.

      Voted up and away

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sue! What wonderful last words to speak to a loved one! You were so lucky to be able to share that final moment with your father. Take care my friend and thank you for your lovely words.

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      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      What a heartfelt hub Bill. Thank-you for sharing with us your emotional moments, photos, and memories too. I see my parents getting older and I want to spend as much time as I can with them. I am glad you are a strong survivor and write your journey for us.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you my dear! Your parents raised an incredible woman and I have no doubt they are very proud of you!

    • KrisL profile image

      KrisL 5 years ago from S. Florida

      Thank you. This is a beautiful reminder of how precious our life is.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure Kris; thank you for reading.

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      epigramman 5 years ago

      ....lovely heartfelt life affirming hub tribute which says as much about the people in it as it does about the gentleman behind this pen - and you kind sir have given us - your devoted readers and friends here at the Hub - the greatest gift of them all - love and understanding - will post this profound, deep and soulful read to my FB music/cinema group with a direct link back here - sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time 6:36am and yes I watched my two best friends - my mum and dad die in front of me while holding their hands - it's a moment one never forgets - but that said - no regrets because it's better to have loved than not to have loved at all

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Colin, your words are true and heartfelt and I thank you for them. My parents were with me through it all so it is only right that I be with them when they died. Thank you for the share and may you find happiness at every turn today.

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      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, your words promote introspection. I've not experienced too much death close up. My mom is one of 10 (scattered across the US, many of whom I never really knew) and only 4 are left. Some of her sisters and brothers were close to we kids (one aunt and her husband were GodParents to all 3 of us). They are now recently passed, but my Uncle John, a year or so before he died sent me a CD of over 1,200 family photos! Who needs Ancestry.com when you have that! Anyway, I've gotten off topic, which is a habit of mine. I have to digress so you understand where I'm going (and often lose my point by the time I get back to today!)

      I have 2 dads, a mom, sister, brother and son in my immediate family. I know I have to face their passing one day, and frankly, I don't know how I'm going to handle it, so I try not to think about it. I tell each and every one of them I love them every time we speak.

      I commend you (and am envious) for giving unconditional love to those you have left, especially those who are not of your bloodline. I'm having difficulty with that. I've been thru too much in my life and am too fearful of living a life I don't want, to give myself freely to an "outsider". Mind you, I start out that way; but one iota of future trials similar to past trials sends me off to myself. I'd like to know how to overcome that. I don't know if I can. I may still be barking up the wrong tree!

      You are a true inspiration to me my dear friend. Keep feeding me and I'll keep being nourished!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I have found that this is a wonderful age for introspection. What's funny is I feel like I'm thirty but suddenly I have all this insight and it just spills out when I sit down to write. I'll see something while I'm out walking and that leads to more introspection...I'm bubbling over! :)

      You have been hurt and hurt badly; of course you have a had time giving unconditional love. Who wouldn't? For me, though, it was either do it or die and I chose to live.

      Rest well my friend and thank you for being you.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, if you are on FAcebook look me up...Bill Holland...we'll be Facebook friends as well.

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      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I don't like FB, although I do have an account. I'm not very adept at using it, but I'll do it for you, my friend!

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Okie dokie...send me a friend request when you get a chance and have a fantastic day in that warm weather while we walk around in our fleece jackets....not that I'm jealous or anything! :)

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      Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Thank you for this inspirational hub. To love unconditionally is a gift and a blessing indeed. Today I am reminded again to keep on creating ripples of love. Thank you Bill! Love and light...

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ripple, I love that...creating ripples of love. My best to you and yours and may you find happiness around every bend in the road.

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      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I went into FB and sent a friend request, although I'm not sure it's you. There are several people with your name. I chose what I thought I recognized as a picture I've seen in your hubs. (Or I made a complete fool of myself with a stranger!) Maybe you can email me and I'll give you my full real name so you can send me a friend request?

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Maybe it will come through...not yet though...I'll let you know and thanks for trying!

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      Sparklea 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      "Wring every last drop of life out of the time you have here because it is a precious gift not to be wasted." Awesome! Phenomenal! Voted up, useful and awesome! There's something about losing your dad...I miss my father terribly, lost him at age 11, sobbed and sobbed at his funeral. Billy Buc, I suggest you check out a book titled, "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp on www.amazon.com INCREDIBLE about LIFE. I am reading it now and intend to buy copies to give as gifts. THANK YOU for sharing your heart about loss of loved ones. So many people I know have passed these last couple years. You are right, each second of life should be cherished. Blessings always, Sparklea :)

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sparklea, you and I were blessed to have had wonderful fathers. Thank you for the book suggestion; I will look it up and give it a read. Peace and happiness to you today and always,

      bill

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      Billybuc: Please let me know what you think of the book...The author is incredible, talks so much about cherishing life. BOOKS have helped me so much in so many ways. I feel bad for people who do not like to read. God bless, Sparklea :)

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I will let you know, Lea, and thank you for the recommendation.

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      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Such a moving, tender, and important story. What a legacy to leave to your son and nephews and nieces. What a reminder to all of us th accept the pain that inevtitably comes with great joy and make the most of every day with our loved ones. Thank you for sharing this. Theresa

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Theresa, you are certainly visiting the Golden Oldies. I haven't read this hub in quite awhile. Thank you for your kindness and gentle ways. Your words brought a smile to my face.

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      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      About once every two weeks I take an afternoon or evening and visit the "golden oldies" of four or five friends on HP. Some times they (you) wrote some really good stuff before they had many followers and I like to share those Hubs. And sometimes I find something with a lot of comments, but I can tell by the title that I am supposed to read it. This week it happened to be you! :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well I am honored Theresa so thank you!

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      Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Oh my you are the oldest!!! Who would have guessed. YOu have suffered much lose. Bless You! Thank you for the beautiful article!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Angela, we all suffer losses; I've just lived longer than you have! Thank you as always.

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      lawahe 4 years ago from United States of America

      I have a memoir that I wrote about my brother. I think I will publish it some time. I was really touched by your story. It rings true. That first time you lose someone that you weren't suppose to lose changes you forever.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lawahe, it definitely brings things into perspective very quickly. What we once thought was important seems to pale very quickly.

      Thank you and I hope you publish that work someday.

    • ken blair profile image

      ken blair 4 years ago

      I definitely agree with the presence of love that eventually heals the experience of death. If you love yourself, your family and loved ones you live with then you'll celebrate life to its entirety. Interesting hub to read, thanks for sharing it here.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ken, my pleasure, and thank you for the visit.

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