His wide open eyes revealed his shell shock. In less than 24 hours he had learned that his mother had a medical crisis, was hospitalized, and now faced death. The single parent who worked two jobs to raise him and his sisters on her own. The piano teacher who instilled in him a love of music that endured throughout his life. Mom.
Philip, a fellow attorney here at the firm, is a dedicated man. A devoted husband, bright and hardworking, a loving father. The summer afternoon the phone call came, he arranged for his clients to be cared for by our legal team. He took his children to Angela’s house so he and his wife had a few hours to pack. By evening, he, along with his pregnant wife and two small children, began the thousand mile drive to be with his mother in her final days.
Philip told his mother stories, held her hand, and made her laugh, staying true to his role as family comedian. He supported his sisters through the uncharted territory of watching a parent die before your eyes. And after their mother died, he put on his lawyer’s hat to settle his mother’s affairs.
In the months that followed, Philip grieved his tremendous loss. As the waves of sadness came and went, he remembered what was most important to him. He got up with the sick toddler in the middle of the night, took on additional household chores as his wife’s morning sickness worsened, and continued to get rave reviews about his performance in the courtroom. Without his mother, hosting the family Thanksgiving dinner fell to him.
Philip suffered an unexpected and permanent loss. But he found his compass of what mattered most to him to guide him through.
When we experience divorce, whether emerging from a thoughtful plan or a horrendous shock, it’s normal to feel disoriented. What is the direction of my life? Which way do I turn when I am so unclear? How do I focus when I feel so lost?
Philip kept getting up each day, doing what needed to be done by a man committed to his life. One day, about a half year later, the focus of his life took another turn. In the early morning hours of Valentine’s Day, instead of someone leaving this earth, someone arrived. Philip welcomed into the world his precious new daughter, who carries her grandmother’s name.
No matter the depth or the breadth of our loss, when we remain willing to get up each day with courage and to keep on living, eventually the universe will remind us anew of why life is worth living.