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When Death Robs the Living

Updated on June 24, 2014

We Will Begin with a True Story

I don’t talk about this very often. Yes, it is still painful, even though forty-five years have passed.

In matters such as this you can take your logic, combine it with four bucks, and get a decent mocha. In matters of the heart and psyche, logic often is worthless, and so it is with this story.

I loved my father.

He was a flawed man for sure, but who among us is not? He was a hard man and yet loving. He was a serious man, and yet fun to be with. He was my best friend, my confidant, and the greatest supporter a young boy could hope to have.

Who I am today is directly related to the fact that I was Dale L. Holland’s son. The lessons he taught me so many years ago are still the foundation of my philosophy about life today. Treat others with respect….help those who cannot help themselves….reach out your hand and always add a smile…..always move forward no matter what the obstacle…..loyalty to family and friends….hard work builds character….these are things that are ingrained in me, and I love that they are.

I want you to understand how much he meant to me. With that understanding, this story will then take on the importance it deserves.

The man who molded me
The man who molded me | Source

JANUARY 6, 1969

A Friday night in Tacoma, Washington. It was a cold night, one of many that winter. Snow was on the ground, as it would be that entire month, and the temperature was in the twenties, unusual for western Washington. I see it clearly with my mind’s eye.

Christmas vacation was coming to an end. On Sunday I would return to Seattle University to finish up my junior year, and I was looking forward to seeing my college buddies and hearing about their vacation adventures. Life was good, filled with the innocence one attains through years of not being tested.

My Dad and I were watching The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, a nightly ritual for us, father and son strengthening a bond that began at birth, but that bond had been weakened of late by our disagreement over the Vietnam War. My father, a World War 2 veteran and staunch supporter of American foreign policy, and his son, lacking experience but filled with visions of peace, had butted heads on more than one occasion, and the strain was obvious that night in January. In fact, we were barely talking to each other.

Dad had not been feeling well. Two months earlier he had a mild heart attack, if a heart attack can ever be described as mild. Against his doctor’s wishes, dad had returned to work a week later. He worked manual labor at a gravel pit, a hard job for sure, most certainly not the kind of work one should return to with a weakened heart….but dad believed in hard work, and he was determined to support his family and yes, times were tough for our family financially, so off to work he had gone.

That night he complained of an upset stomach….and pains in his left arm…and shortness of breath….all classic signs of an impending heart attack. He took some aspirin and nitro tablets and soldiered on, as Carson cracked one-liner after one-liner, and the audience howled in appreciation, and I watched my dad anxiously.

I remember Carson making some joke about Vietnam, and I remember my dad turning red as his anger built, and I so clearly remember me making some righteous comment about the wasted lives, and then….

The Loss of Innocence

The sound of my father falling in the bathroom, and the seemingly endless trip to the phone to dial 911, then sprint down the hallway and falling to my knees next to my father….DAD…DAD…HELP IS ON THE WAY…HANG IN THERE, DAD, DON’T YOU DARE QUIT….I LOVE YOU, DAD…I LOVE YOU….I LOVE YOU…..

I don’t know if he could hear me. I lifted his head and put it in my lap, and I squeezed his hand, a hand once so strong, but now lacking all strength….and he was gone.

And so was my innocence.

The rest of the month passed by as though a dream. The funeral, grieving relatives and friends, sleepwalk through my classes, hear the condolences as though far-off echoes, give my mother the support she desperately needed and deserved….I remember it all now, but at the time I could only concentrate on one overriding fact…..I made my father angry and he died because of the increased adrenalin caused by that anger. I made my father angry, and the last words he heard from his son were words of anger.

I caused my father’s death.

He never heard “I love you.”

During happier times
During happier times | Source

And the Rest of the Cast Lived Happily Ever After

Well, no, they didn’t.

I was twenty and I had caused my father’s death.

I was thirty and I had caused my father’s death.

I was forty and I had caused my father’s death.

Guilt is a fascinating emotion. We go on living, doing the everyday activities of the living, laughing, working, hanging out with friends, and going through the motions. We breathe in and breathe out. We eat, we sleep, we play games and we feel other pains….but…all the while, our subconscious is kicking ass and taking names. A little voice caresses us, whispers in our ear, you are a piece of excrement, you are unworthy of happiness, you are…despicable.

We may not even be aware that it is happening. I certainly was not. I knew I was unhappy, but as the years marched on and memories faded, I could not tell you the source of my unhappiness.

Change Did Not Come in a Blinding Light of Awareness

It may happen that way for others, a magical epiphany where all is revealed and the truth sets them free, but not for me. For this traveler of life it took endless hours of discussion and self-analysis. It took the loving patience of mentors and guidance counselors.

Finally, though, awareness did arrive, and with it…freedom from the guilt.

What I came to realize was that my father would not want me to live in guilt. That was, in fact, the last thing he would ever want for the son he loved so much. Today I can almost hear him say, “Bill, get over it and move forward. Shit happens and we learn and move on. You didn’t mean for it to happen. I know you loved me. It’s about damned time, Bill, that you get on with the business of loving yourself.”

And so I did.

Slowly at first, small increments of gain, daily reminders that I am a good person and that I did, in fact, love my father.

And eventually I believed it.

Free at last
Free at last | Source

And So……

I suspect I am not alone with these feelings. I suspect there are a great many people out there who are burdened, dare I say, brought to their knees, by guilt and shame.

I suspect there are a great many people who are crippled by sorrow over the loss of a loved one.

And for what purpose?

Our loved ones who have passed on would not want that for us, so why continue with this self-inflicted wound?

On Ash Wednesday each year, millions of Catholics have ashes placed on their foreheads. This is a symbolic act that reminds them of two things:

  • From ashes to ashes
  • Repent and believe in the Gospel.

I wish there was an Ash Wednesday for those burdened with guilt and self-loathing. They could put ashes on their foreheads and then say these words:

“I am sorry for the past but I will not allow it to define me as a human being. Life is for the living, and from this day forward I plan on living life to the fullest.”

I know that’s what my father would want me to do.

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

Dedicated to my friend Lizzy.

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    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      We blame ourselves for so many things. I think it's human nature to do so. When we are finally able to let these feelings of guilt go it's almost like we are being set free. Enjoyed the piece on your father even though it's always sad to read about death.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, I cannot tell you enough always how sorry you had to go through this at such a young age and lose your beloved father. You are right your dad would not want you to hold any guilt over anything that happened that day or leading up to any of it. I know guilt well though and had enough after we lost both of my grandparents, as much as I loved and adored both of them and knew they too felt that me about me, as well. Still, I missed them and was guilty of what if I could have done more myself. Hugs to you and seriously you are just a wonderful wonderful man and hope you know this my friend. Wishing you a great and wonderful Tuesday now.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Susan! Yes, it is always sad, but it does not have to be crippling. That is what I had to learn.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, thank you dear friend. I know today I am a good man, but I still have some serious growing left to do. I appreciate your compassion and friendship, Janine. Thank you.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 3 years ago from Arizona

      I read this and memories of my dad falling in the backyard and my young son with him. He also had had a mild heart attack years before. Today there are more diagnostic tools and solutions...I didn't know my dad well in the sense of sharing etc. He loved my oldest boy (5) at the time....and played cards with him by the hour. However, my son doesn't remember him at all..which is too bad. Death is tough and there is little else to say about that. As you have learned I know guilt is a wasted emotion with no solution. Thanks for sharing this with us Bill..Something we all have gone through and we know it is part of life.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Carol, for sharing your memories....no, it is not easy, but I believe it is necessary in order for the living to learn lessons.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Oh, Bill my heart bleeds for you. To think you were responsible for your father's death all those years, when in reality you were not. He was experiencing pain before Carson brought up Vietnam and before you made your remark. I can only imagine the guilt you must have felt. I hope today you realize you dad's death was not your fault. It was simply his time.

      Sending you a huge bear hug from across the continent. I love you my friend!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 3 years ago

      I lost my Dad when I was eighteen years old. For years I fantasized that somehow I could have saved him, if only I found the one person capable of healing his heart. I don't think you caused your father's death. His failing heart did that for him. Now you should honor his life by being the best and happiest man you can be. Up and beautiful, billy.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I have to fight this all the time Bill; I was not even in the same state with my parents when they died yet it is thrown at me mentally to this day. If I hadn't done this or let that happen; it had to have changed things. They would still be dead today no doubt; one way or another but I put blame on myself very often while ones who really did have a hand in it probably never give it a second thought. It is who we are Bill and because of our deep love and we have to forgive ourselves to go on. ^+

    • word55 profile image

      Word 3 years ago from Chicago

      Hey billybuc, I read your story and by the way, I published a poem yesterday about getting over death. I don't think you were in anyway responsible for your dad's death. Although you had and shared differences that didn't stop the love that flowed between you two. You didn't want his life to end. You were being you and he was being himself. What happened to your dad was bound to happen at one time or another. It just so happened on your watch. Like we say sometimes, someone has to be the bearer and you were the one. You should always feel marvelous that you had good and perhaps, bad times that you two shared. My dad past away 3 months before I was born. My growing up when kids could boast about their dads is something that I couldn't do it so, I just sort of shunned that and remained strong. I had heard through my brothers that my dad was very stern. He had passed from a heart attack as well. I allowed God at an early age to be my dad. God's done me very well. You have a strong following here. I'm sure that no one expects or accepts anything negative of you. Your dad made you of good quality, to carry on his name and be the best that you can be. That's all we both should do, my bother. Have a great day!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sha. Today I realize that....then, no way. All is well that ends well my friend. We live and we learn and it is all a process we have to go through. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Breakfastpop, I am honoring him in that way. This is a thing of the past...today all is well in Bill's world. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie, thank you for sharing that experience. It is who we are, and I'm fine with that. I wouldn't want to be anyone else, despite the bruises and cuts along the way. :)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, living to the fullest allows the essence of who your Dad was to live on to the fullest in you. Sharing this story also makes him live on in the inspiration we receive from his story. Death only seems to rob--the living has the final say. Thank you for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Word, thank you my friend. I did read your poem yesterday just before I posted this. It's all good today. I have worked through it over time, and I know your words are truth today. Thank you for your compassion.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for your thoughts, Dora. Greatly appreciated my friend.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 3 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Just beautiful, Bill. Overcoming those horrid subconscious thoughts for so many years to find your way back to love. Love is everything. Loving yourself is certainly difficult at times, but is the way to peace. How wonderful for you to finally accept that your father would want you to live the beautiful life you have. xoxo

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Stephanie. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us all.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 3 years ago from Central Virginia

      Kindred, you drew tears with this one today. Tears not of sadness for the years you punished yourself, but tears for the love I heard in every word as you talked of your dad. I know he is proud of the man you have become. Oh, if only we had known then what we know now. The journey is not always easy and if it were, we probably would not have learned a damn thing. I don't know if it helps and I honestly don't know how they know but...they say the hearing is the last sense to go when we die. I am sure your dad heard your last loving words. And that's how it is. Love to you my friend. This was beautiful.

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 3 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Beautiful Bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Sheri!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kindred, thank you and yes, those are tears of love. No worries today my friend. I have paid my dues, walked through the darkness, and now it is clear sailing ahead. Thank you for your kindness.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      When tragedy appears it seems wrong and you feel at your worst. Great writing as always.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you as always, DDE!

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 3 years ago from Texas

      Wow, that's a powerful account! Perhaps death does not really rob the living. Maybe of a moment's joy in time. But, for it to continue to rob the living of fully experiencing life is indeed a self-inflicted wound. Yet, the scars from that wound can be lasting. I'm glad that you came to terms with your guild and have learned to let it go. Now you are able to help others do the same.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you shanmarie....tricky waters we navigate as we grow....some sink...some learn to ride the current. :)

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I'm sorry, Bill, for your years of difficulty following the death of your father. I am grateful that you took the time to share it with us, it must have been very hard, but you did it. Thanks for helping the rest of us move onward and upward!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Denise. That's why I wrote this, to help others who I am sure are experiencing similar feelings.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Well done Bill, whatever went on with you before, who you are now is my friend.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      This did me a power of good, bill, so thank you. Like many others I believe I contributed towards the death of my father, more through what I didn't do than something I did. I have the guilt but I too know that he would not want me to feel that way; he knew I loved him, he knew I didn't wish for his ruin. I talk to him most days and he talks back. Once, just once, he visited me in a dream and gave me a huge hug; I believe that was his forgiveness, that was him making me feel great with a smile and a hug, just like he used to.

      Thanks for this story and for reminding me that I'm forgiven.

      I have to say once more that you are a great writer, bill. I'm so glad that you are also a friend.

      Ann

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      The greatest gifts you can give yourself are understanding, kindness, forgiveness.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I read Liz's story yesterday after you mentioned her great style of writing and it was excellent, just as yours is. I told her that she didn't cause her mother's death, as well as you didn't cause your father's. I lived with guilt after my husband committed suicide, if only i hadn't left him, if only i could've forgiven him, etc. Such a waste of years. Alcohol killed him. Your father's heart killed him. I am so glad you moved on, as have i. I must say that this made me sad and brought back memories. Thank you for sharing another layer of Bill. God Bless.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Kay Badder 3 years ago from USA

      I had a nephew that committed suicide. I saw him less than an hour before he did it. Whenever I think of him, I think I should have somehow stopped him. But I didn't know what his suffering was.

      I don't think these things are our fault. Part of the human emotion must be to blame ourselves. I don't think you or I could have made a real difference.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, I like that, and I'm proud to be your friend. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, thank you so much. Great writer? The jury is still out. Your friend? Forever!

      I'm very happy to hear you have worked things out with your father and with yourself. Thank you for sharing your experience so that others may learn.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, truer words were never written. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I think there are many of us...as you pointed out with your experience. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and emotions....and for your friendship. God bless you as well my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Barbara, I understand that today, but it took a long time to reach that level of understanding. I'm so glad we both did. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 3 years ago

      Hi Bill.

      This hub of yours is another confirmation of the universal truth revealed in the Book, that the "accuser" of the brethren works on yet another of his victim finding right moment of vulnerability. Your father was dead, and because you thought that you caused his death, the enemy of life wanted to make you guilty if possible to remove all trace of love and good memory of your father and you. ( You know how hard the enemy was working on you to destroy you in the past - to prevent you to live to this point to become what you now are.)

      Finally you became free of that burden, knowing that every person has appointed time of arrival as well as of departure to this planet of earth.

      If only living will realize that death even of the dearest person in our lives does not have any power on interrupted continuance to live as we lived before, since our life here in the body continues until full measure and accomplishing what we are sent to do. Our youngest son taught me something very valuable in this regard when discussion came about the time or reason somebodies death: " it was his time to go."

      So many good points are revealed in your hub as well as comments , about dealing with the death of loved ones, pointing to the fact that we live here in the body, before we move on to live out of the body carrying on memories of love, never losing hope…

      Voted up.

      Have a blessed day my friend.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I had Dad for a long time, and then again, I did not. I actually had two dads...the one before Alzheimers, and the one who had no idea who I was. The loving dad who taught me all sorts of skills and the one who hated me because he thought I was evil.

      Losing your dad while you're still young is a life disaster. Losing him as an old man is expected and accepted, but it still hurts.

      This is an important Hub, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, as always you have spoken from the heart and with wisdom. Thank you so much for your insights. My hope is that articles like this one will help others as they travel a similar path.

      Thank you dear friend, and blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Will, if there is an uglier disease than Alzheimers, I never want to experience it. My best friend has it and it is ugliness personified. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 3 years ago

      Bill, it is a shame that you believed you killed your dad. I am glad that you finally got over it and were able to move on. I’m sure your dad watches over you and loves you for being the son that you were. What some people, in fact most of us, don’t know is that a heart attack begins hours before the pain starts. Once the person feels the pain, the infarction is well underway. That lack of knowledge caused a rift in my family that somewhat continues to this day.

      My younger son, well known for his disobedience, didn’t come home on time at his grandparent’s house one weekend. His very laid back, very placid grandfather became almost violently agitated and laid in to the kid verbally when he finally got home. It was so out of context for Grandpop to do that. Early in the morning he was rushed to the hospital in the midst of a heart attack. He survived, but only for three weeks. When Grandpop died, my son’s father blamed our child and told everyone that the boy “had killed his father.” He encouraged our older son to abuse the younger one, and to verbally abuse me when I stood up for his little brother. The father and I were divorced at the time, and I had no way of knowing what was going on for quite some time.

      Only after he grew up was I able to convince my son that his grandfather suffered the heart attack several hours before his curfew, and that his overreaction was a result of the infarction, not the cause of it. I hope my son no longer carries the guilt around with him. He was only 10 years old at the time his father accused him of killing his grandfather. My older son still carries a grudge toward us as a result of his father’s placing the blame and because I didn’t join them. To this day he and I don’t get along very well.

      Guilt is a very heavy trip. May it be stamped out forever.

    • Mary McShane profile image

      Mary McShane 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

      Hi Bill,

      You learned a valuable, but hard lesson that took a few years, but you still learned it. The school of hard knocks got its name for a reason.

      You now know that you are not responsible for your father's death and, that is all that counts.

    • RachaelOhalloran profile image

      Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

      I can identify with your story because I lost someone that close to me and was blamed by many for years, even though it wasn't my fault. Like me, you were in no way responsible for your father's death. The fact that you know it and understand that now is a life lesson that probably took its toll on you for many years. I'm glad you are in a good place now, billybuc.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, what an amazing and sad story you just shared. To lay that guilt on a ten year old is so cruel....I'm convinced that some people should never be allowed to be parents.

      Thank you for sharing that. It is important that people discuss these things. We are all so alike in so many ways...sharing eases the burden I think.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, that is all that counts for sure. Thank you for your thoughts....we all travel tough roads from time to time.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rachael....I'm sorry you had to go through what you experienced, and hopefully you are at peace now.

    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Efficient Admin 3 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      Bill, I'm very sorry you had to go through this tragedy but I am glad you came to the point where you could be free and move on. This is an encouraging story for anyone who has burdens from the past they are carrying around.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Efficient. Some lessons are harder to learn than others...that's for sure. :)

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Bill - This is a terribly sad story told from the devastating memory that nearly destroyed your life. I'm very glad you managed to recover from the guilt that caused your unhappiness for so long and glad you realized your dad would not want you to feel responsible in any way.

      What really makes me glad is that you had a strong and happy relationship with your dad for the first two decades of your life. I'm glad he taught you the wonderful values that make you the person you are today and was a good role model for you as a young boy. I'm glad you have special memories of the times you spent together. Those are so important.

      You see, I never had a relationship with my father at all. My parents divorced when I was a young girl, but even before he left, my father never gave me the slightest impression that he loved me. Never. That is also devastating to a child and creates guilt of another kind. It made me think, ' I'm not good enough for my father to love me.'

      When he was old, I was kind to him and we forged a simple friendship, but it was too late for that strong and loving father-daughter relationship I'd missed all my life. Even now, when I see children with an obviously loving father, I feel a tug at my heart and a voice in my mind murmurs, 'If only....'

      Peace,

      Jaye

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jaye, thank you for sharing your story, and I am so sorry you never experienced what I had, a loving and caring father. I can't imagine my life without the guidance I received during my first twenty years. So very hard it must have been for you.

      Peace to you my friend

      bill

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. My father died less than a year ago so this one really hit home. I can't imagine this ever being easy to get through. I am certain that your father was a great man, as was mine. We are both who we are today because of our fathers. I am so happy that you have risen above the guilt you carried around for years. I'm sure your father is looking down upon you with pride.

    • profile image

      Greg 3 years ago

      Ah Bill, I scrolled all the way down these comments and was too lazy to go back and sign in. I just wanted to say my friend that this was an excellent tribute to your Dad.

      I am glad you were able to move on; I have also been in a similar situation in my life.

      Great hub Bill. Voted up

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, thank you my friend. It is never easy, but we move forward, one lesson from my dad I will always remember. I hope you have found peace with your dad's passing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Greg. We just never know when a watershed moment is going to hit us. Our support system disappears suddenly and we are left floundering....but somehow we find a way.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 3 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Billy. Thanks for sharing your story and sending this message.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Anything for you, Lizzy. :)

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 3 years ago from Upstate New York

      billybuc; So very sorry about what you went through with your dad. Guilt is the most awful thing. One may as well be carrying a Prudential Rock on their shoulders. I am so glad you are healed from that, and yes, your dad would want you to move on, and he would never want you to feel guilty. Someone said to me just yesterday, "Lea it does not matter how someone dies or the circumstance, when it's your time, it's your time. Period." God knows before our birth when we will die, and how.

      It is all a part of God's plan. Back in 1976 my best friend, her husband, and three daughters were driving in the dark through the fog on their way home from Syracuse, NY. A tractor trailer ran into them, killing their 10 year old daughter...the 12 year old almost lost her eye, her husband was badly injured...she told me a few days before, she had pushed the ten year old up against a wall in anger. She said if not for her salvation and the love of her Lord, she would be carrying that guilt forever. Everyone of us has a story about someone who died, and "if only..." From my perspective, the way I see it that awful night for you, yes, your dad got angry, but I feel in my heart, God would have taken him even if he had NOT gotten angry...it was simply his time...and the wonderful part is that YOU WERE THERE, you were with him in his last moments...and I truly believe he heard you tell him you loved him. I just KNOW it.

      Thank you for sharing this profound, inspirational, deep story. I know it will help multiple readers. God bless, Sparklea voted up and awesome

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 3 years ago

      I could see how the death of a loved one can cause one temporary sadness or the feeling of being unhappy. my grandfather passed today and I understand completely. thanks for this hub.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, you are a dear. Thank you for sharing that story and for your kindness. All is well in my world now. I am at peace for the first time in my life, and believe me, that is a blessing.

      Thank you and blessings to you always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Torrilynn, I am so very sorry to hear about your grandfather. May peace be with you and with him.

      Thank you!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      can I use that old saying here..what doesn't kill you makes you stronger? thank you for sharing this story billy.. bless you

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Hi Bill,

      Here’s a précis from a memoir I once started writing… I’m at the airport, leaving England for a life in Australia with hubby and baby daughters. My dad is with us to the end…I think I broke his heart…

      ‘Look at the defeated figure of my father, a tall, stooped, lonely, vulnerable man. I don’t think I’ve ever really noticed him before.

      He’s dressed up for once. His wedding and funeral special, pin striped suit, navy tie and felt trilby. He’s even put his teeth in. It’s unusual not to see a gummy smile. The one that sends Mum crazy. His empty mouth was the bane of her life. ‘Honest to God - you can’t take him anywhere looking like that.’

      Dad understood her dilemma. He didn’t want to go anywhere. My whirlwind mother danced, and partied at any opportunity. Dad stayed quietly at home, snug and secure in his private world. Toothless was safe.

      The final call resounds, the final farewell. Uncontrollably, and without warning my Dad starts to cry. The tears roll down his cheeks and drop from his chin onto the trilby hat he’s clutching. The volume of airport noise suddenly seems silent. My daughter’s tiny voice shatters the silence.

      ‘Why is my granddad crying? Why is granddad sad? I want to kiss granddad better.’

      I can’t reassure him. I want to stay with him. I want to feel safe. I want to tell him I love him. I don’t utter a word…

      We turn and walk away towards the plane and a new life, leaving behind a trail of emptiness. I turn once again and see his crumpled figure. How small he looks now. He’s waving. Waving his big clumsy hands. Waving his hat.

      I t was to be my last memory. I never saw Dad again. He died early the following year.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Sorry Bill - didn't realise it was such a big chunk of memoir!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      Guilt can help us realize our mistakes, but clinging to it serves no purpose. The important thing is to learn from the experience and take that new knowledge with you.

      In fact, Carson was the man who angered your father. Yes, you added to it, but without Carson saying whatever he said, you would not had said what you did either. Chances are, in your father's weakened state that it would have taken very little to bring about what happened. It was a matter of when, not if.

      Very good of you to share this experience with everyone so that other people suffering extreme guilt may be able to lift their burden and hopefully gain a new perspective and move forward.

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you for sharing this personal story Bill. I can understand where you are coming from. I still feel some guilt over my mother's death about 10 years ago, because I had been living with her and caring for her since my father passed away a year before. She had been feeling a little unwell and not eating a lot for a few days. My wife was living about a two hour drive away and I was moving back and forwards between the two venues, usually to visit my wife on the weekend. Anyway I told my mom I would stay with her this weekend as she hadn't been well, but sh e convinced me she was feeling better and even ate breakfast, convincing me she'd be fine and I should go visit my wife. On the Sunday I had just left to return to my mother's house and got an urgent phone call that my mother had been rushed to hospital. As I was driving I kept getting phone calls from the hospital asking if they should keep my mother resuscitated if she stopped breathing or let her pass. It was shocking, but I told them to keep her alive until I got there...tears streaming down my face as I drove. I was able to see and speak to her, though she couldn't talk...her lungs had failed....she passed the next day. If I had just stayed with her that weekend........

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, this is so strongly felt, sad but something most of us go through when we lose someone we love. This story resonates with so many of us.

      Your father, as you wrote, molded you into the remarkable man we all know you to be today. Your dad brought you up to be ethical and conscientious, he is the person who nurtured your moral conscience taught you how to love your country, whether he agreed with your opinions or not, I'm sure he respected them. I know I've personally had some humdingers with the people that are closest to me.

      Unfortunately, your father's heart condition could have worsened at any time, it is not a question of faults and there is no way he did not know how much you loved him. I'm so sorry it took so much pain before you were able to come to terms with his death.

      I do have regrets about my mother's death, I planned everything so well, to be there for her, I took time off to be there when she became ill, caring for her for 4 years, then circumstances changed and I had to return to the UK, within 3 months she was gone. I had to learn to forgive my self, I know she understood.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      True words, Frank, and here I am, alive and well. :) Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing that, travmaj, a powerful story that really strikes the heart of the point I was making. We live our lives...sometimes great pain is associated with our actions and decisions....it is called life my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      No worries, travmaj.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much Au fait. I was so young...so untested....and I had to learn the hard way. Hubris is a roadblock to growth...as is guilt....I had to learn that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, John, exactly. Thank you for sharing that story. We can all learn from each other...our stories intertwine....our reactions are the same.....we are never alone if we share how we feel.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, I know she understood too, just as I know my father is looking down today and he is filled with understanding and love. Thank you for sharing that.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Your father would love you to be happy and live without any worry or guilt. Living life to the fullest is what your dad will want you to live. Take care.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vellur. I'm sure he understands and I'm sure he knows I loved him.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      I'm sure your father is very proud of you. I wish you all the best, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you vkwok. When I see him again I'll ask him. :)

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Timely article. Quite a big one, guilt. God sure pulled your weeds in a loving and gentle way over many years. We all share those weeds in one way or another.

      My loving thoughts to your father in heaven. We do our best and the Lord knows the rest.

      This Hub is extremely useful and necessary; I trust it serves in a wonderful way to uplift us all. Please accept my prayers for you and loved ones.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Manatita. I hope it serves that purpose my friend. Blessings to you always.

      bill

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 2 years ago from Scotland

      Your dad sounds a good man Bill, just as you are.

      No-one can change it when a soul's time is up; it really hurts though.

      As you said we can only move on, progress and be all we can be, because that is the only thing that the person we have lost would want for us.

      I am glad you have found peace over your dad and I am sure he has watched you over the years and he feels so proud of the man you have grown into.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 2 years ago from United States

      Awesome hub. I know your father would not want you to live in guilt either. My father and I had our moments, but at the end he was too sick to even communicate much at all. I miss him and it has only been 13 years for me. My mother lives with me and she is 90. I treasure each day with her as I know her CHF is going to take her in the not too distant future. It is always tough losing a loved one. I really like this hub.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      This should be a Hub Of The Day, I'm entering it. This gave me comfort in reading through your thoughts. I was not with my father when he passed away. I am sure your presence was a comfort to him when he breathed his final breath. Yes, death is draining but life goes on. We the living must take the good from it and use it to form our future. Blessings, dear friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for the kind words, Anna. I seem to be a bit slow at learning valuable lessons, but I do eventually learn. :)

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts, Pamela. I think it is very valuable to discuss matters such as this.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dianna. Save your efforts....I think HP has decided I'm not HOTD material. LOL I appreciate the thought and your kind words.

      blessings always

      bill

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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      We have all felt that we have caused a death or an illness, that we could have done more. However, we just never had that power, and we must come to grips with mortality. As kids, we expect everyone to be around forever, then upon the first death, reality sets in...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It is an eye-opener for sure, Deb. Thankfully we learn over the years....yes?

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 2 years ago from United States

      I think this hub touched a lot of people in different ways, which is quite obvious by the comments. It is hard for all of us to deal with the death of family, whether the relationship was healthy and loving or not. I am glad you were able to share this part of your life so freely with all of us. It is good that you have moved ahead and no doubt your dad would want you to live a happy, fultilling life today.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela, and you are right, we all deal in our own way. Have a great weekend.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      Thank you for sharing your story. All the encouragement and teaching you have done truly has honored your dad.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you tireless....that means a great deal to me.

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