In my experience, this is the hardest learned BUT MOST IMPORTANT lesson in life. Not in reference to your father specifically; that was just how your lesson was wrapped.

A woman I’m lucky to call a mentor and grateful to call a friend passed it on to me, during a time of profound loss in my life. She said,

“Everything. Every experience. No matter how good or how devastating, they are all gifts. The only question is are you going to seek out the perspective that changes stumbling blocks into stepping stones that enrich your journey, or are you going to spend your whole life stumbling around, stuck , focused on all the reasons nothing ever gets better?”

It sounds like your dad, like mine, chose the second option, and that’s terribly sad for him. My dad died of an overdose in March, and no matter what had transpired in the past between us, I wish I had gotten the opportunity to tell him one last time that I loved him. That somehow, the good in me was a result of the mistakes he made. And if it’s meant to be, I hope you get that opportunity.

Because my mentor told me one more thing that day, and I remember it like she said it just now. She said,

“One day you’ll get to thank him for the gifts that came from this.”

I didn’t believe her then, but I believe her now. Our greatest assets are created out of our most painful experiences.

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know I want it to be spelled right and punctuated correctly. I guess that’s something.