Top 5 Life Lessons You Learn From Losing A Parent
By: James Teague
Growing up, my dad would always tell me, “There’s always 3 things in life thats promised; Death, Taxes, & my jump-shot.” Even though I’d hear him out, he always lost me on the last part due to our competitive basketball nature with me wanting to beat him in one on one. As I got older, that statement revisited me on more than one occasion as I navigated through adulthood.
Death is a topic that I avoid because its tough to really analyze. There’s always a negative connotation involved with death. Oh and lets not forget the power of the tongue where you can speak something out and the universe can grant its wish. When people speak on death, God has an interesting way of sending that message to you. All that I knew for sure about death was that one day we were all going to face it differently, whether it’s with family, loved ones, or yourself.
A lot of times when you’re constantly on go living your life, and everything just seems fine and that nothing is going to happen. However, on June 8th, 2019, my father James Ray Teague was called home to God much sooner than my family had expected due to a rare but incurable brain cancer. It was one thing dealing with the death when I lost my grandparents some few years earlier but dealing with this particular loss of a parent is a different kind of beast.
I still remember talking to my mom in full about the cancer that was slowly killing my dad. I still remember feeling as if the doctors weren’t doing enough and were just telling her that and feeling like they weren’t trying hard enough to find a cure for my father. But as time progressed, I slowly realized as I would see and hear about my dad slowly deteriorating, I had realized this cancer was in fact a real thing. I spend as much time with the family as I can because I knew we were gearing up to face a life altering change that would change our family.
Needless to say even though we diligently did everything possible to prepare, my fathers transition from the real world into heaven stills hurts some. I wasn’t expecting to lose a parent so soon at this early young age. Here I was thinking that My dad was going to still be around in time to see me accomplish my biggest dreams, build my career, and start my own family and meet his future grandchildren. But God had other plans for us.
By all means, God does not make mistakes. However some things in life we can’t help but ask “Why?” I was already still processing Nipsey Hussle’s death and now I have to deal with losing my father so soon. It’s been some time now since my fathers passing and I’ve learned quite a bit during bereavement. In the weeks of my fathers passing and the time I took away from life, there was so much to take away from this entire experience with death. Here are my top 5 life lessons to take away when your faced with losing a parent sooner than usual.
1. Losing Your Parent Is A Universal Experience .
From the moment my sister, mother, and I had made our social media posts announcing my fathers passing, the phone lines got busy. I cannot tell you how many condolence texts, phone calls, tweets were received within those 72 hours. We could barely keep up with everybody. What I learned firsthand from hearing from all my friends and family that was reaching out was two things: first it felt good to know that a lot of my people were reaching out with love and care to show their concerns regarding our well being. Secondly, I was so surprised at so many people who told me about their experience losing their parent, grandparent, or someone who meant something special to them. There was way more friends of mine who experienced losing their parent and shared the same sentiments I had. At that moment it helped reassure the main thing in life, we all share similar experiences. You’re never the only one.
2. Practicing Good Karma Can Take You Far
Following up from the first lesson, so many family friends were helpful in our time of need. Whether it was helping out with caring for my fathers needs when he was still alive but sick, bringing meals to the house, or helping out financially, etc etc. I was blown away at how much support my family received. All of this was due to how great human beings my parents were. My father always had a passion for helping his community and his family through teaching and being a role model for young black boys still in school. My parents recognized that they were blessed beyond measures and always chose to pay it forward with servicing family friends and business partners whenever the opportunity presented itself. In return of all the good deeds done, everybody returned the favor when tragedy showed up in our lives. It’s always better to be a good person in life because you never know how big of the rewards God will bless you with the good deeds you commit.
3. Life Still Goes On
The main thing that’s helped me deal with death was understanding the concept of “Life still goes on.” Not only with death but whenever you’re dealing with life problems that comes our way, I’ve always learned through my experiences in life that even while dealing with something, life will still move whether you’re in it to win it or not. Plus knowing how my father thinks, he wouldn’t want my family to be walking around moping and depressed because he’s no longer here in the physical.
4. Blood Isn’t Always Thicker Than Water
Growing up in my household, family is everything. Every summer, my parents would always take my sister and I to Paducah, Kentucky to spend the summers with my Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, cousins. Those used to be the best times of our lives. Watching wrestling with my older cousin and Granddad, hanging out with my cousins when they come over, going to Dairy Queen on the weekends to get ice cream with my aunt and cousins, going to church all together, etc.
As we got older though, all of the family activities slowly declined as we were growing apart and going on different paths in life. But our grandparents were the glue that kept our family together. We would still link at my grandparents place. It may not have been like when we were younger, but we still would enjoy our family time between then and family reunions. The passing of my grandparents and my father broke the glue of my family and it was disheartening.
Prior to my father passing, I watched and recalled several incidents between family that caused me to question all of those years we had together while I was growing up. How could the family I grew up with in my 28 years here really look like strangers to me. However, while in our time of needs we had a lot of family friends be there for us when we needed it. They would help us with bills, food, run errands for us, and help watch over my sick dad, etc. They would even give us company just to help keep our spirits up and help us remember the good times in life. I guess the moral of what I’m saying overall is sometimes family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs. The ones you accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile, and who love you no matter what.
5. Legacy Legacy Legacy
You really don’t realize how much people you know until you attend a funeral. I remember while at my Dad’s funeral running into so many old faces that I haven’t seen in a long time. Heck some of those faces I’ve literally forgot still existed. MY father had left a huge impact on his community through his acts of servitude and leadership. I couldn’t tell you how many faces had at least one great story of my dad. We’re all here on borrowed time. What’s your passion? How is it that you want to be remembered? Sometimes in life we’re always on go and we don’t stop to think that it can all be over at any given moment.
Death is already our fate but we don’t know when that day is. So while we’re still here alive and breathing, what is it that you want to accomplishment while you’re here? We only have so much time and it’s our job to make sure that we make it count. Decide now and today about how you want to shape your legacy. We all are here on this planet with a purpose God has blessed us with and its our job to fulfill his purpose. You never know when your last day on earth can be.