When my dad first started showing signs of dementia, I told him I forgave him for things that happened long ago. We cried together. For the remainder of his life, we laughed, we talked and we loved more than ever before. After his passing, I inwardly searched for a clearer insight into the beauty and wisdom that symbolized my father. An answer came to me in one simple sentence late one night while lying in bed and thinking about him. “When you learn to forgive, you open your heart to learn how to love.” I wrote it down on a piece of paper and have kept it in my wallet ever since. I have done my best to live it every day both in tribute to the man I miss and to be a better person.
As a JFS hospice volunteer for nearly 9 years, I am frequently asked by family members what they can do to help ease the pain of their loved one. Without saying a word, I open my wallet and show them that piece of paper with no further explanation. I don’t think I could say or do any more to help them. Thanks dad!!