China 2019 – Day 24, Saturday, 10th August
It’s the weekend and what better way to start it off than with a two hour private lesson at 0830, followed by a coffee and some planning on how to spend my last weekend in China and make the most of the time.
I’m not really one for marking such occasions but today would have been my dad’s birthday but he passed away at 67 several years ago, after courageously living with cancer for 3 years.
Biologically he wasn’t my dad but biology means very little when it comes to being a real father. We both knew that.
I know that he would be proud of the person that I am, faults and all, and after several years despite being a wound that never quite heals, I am at peace with his passing. Although, I still miss him a lot – the advice, him doing all my DIY, the conversations about history, the silly jokes, always being beaten at chess…and just the everyday interactions we all have between us.
Dealing with loss is naturally very difficult but it’s something that we all have to go through of course. I consider myself to be very lucky to have a healthy practice (martial arts) and a focus (my business) which I could channel all my energy into whilst allowing time to pass and heal.
Training in martial arts is like an anchor that can keep you from sinking when you are facing life’s rocky waters. No one avoids them but plenty of people get dragged down to the depths.
I am always a little surprised when an upheaval in life causes someone to stop their training. I am no one to judge, as it it their experience and not mine, but there is a part of me that finds it a shame because a practice such as tai chi is something that you can rely on in such times.
Marriages end, loved ones pass, careers go off track, friends fall out, finances give us troubles… we can’t avoid such things from happening in life.
For me, when dealing with any of the above problems, I redouble my efforts in my training. Of course it doesn’t make the problem or the pain go away but it never fails to make me feel that I can deal with it better.
Not once have I finished a training session feeling worse than when I started.
We think of exercise and training as a way to keep our bodies active and minds engaged, less so as a way to act as a safety net of sorts when the real big life changing events happen to us.
We should train for many reasons but emotional resilience is an important one, and then when the potentially crushing events of life take place, we have something we can fall back on to help us through them.
One thing I decided to do after his passing was to help as many people as I could in the best way I knew how. This has been one of the driving factors in my tai chi focus over the last few years.
So on what would be his 74th birthday, it’s heartwarming to be able to say that even after his passing he continues to have an incredibly positive influence – and a part of him is still with me in that respect.
(And if you ask my daughter, I’m sure she’d say that I inherited the bad dad jokes).
I don’t like public displays of mourning online or social media, so please don’t offer condolences or feel sorry for me – this is not an attention seeking blog post in that respect. I offer the thoughts on my own experience as a way to reach out and help other people who may be going through something similar.
Life is too short for many but what can we do about it except take the good that they gave us and use it in a way to help more people?
That’s how those who have left us live on.