In 2014, my father-in-law, Bill, was dying. We, his family, were not informed. This was not revealed until about 6 months later, but he knew that he was at the end of his journey on this earth. During this time he made a point to have each of his children to visit so that he could have the time he needed to make peace with each of children.
Bill was a highly intelligent, stoic person whom we could count on for unadulterated advice and commentary on any subject. By the time I came to know Bill, he was in his 60’s and not doing retirement well. Even in that last year of his life, he was looking for a part-time teaching position at the local college. I guess he felt that he still had more to give.
By the time Bill became my father-in-law he had had a shift in character. I did not realize this until much later. This new Bill was the only person I had ever known. Open minded, spiritually open and a humanitarian. Someone who accepted me for who I was, not that he liked all of me but was willing to love me for all that I was. I say “was” because I changed much after having him in my life.
During the last year of life, Bill worked to make amends with all of his children and I assume the people he felt he had wronged. On our last visit Bill sat with me privately to talk about our relationship. He apologized for not being the father-in-law in he could have been. And that he wished he was could be more for me.
I was totally shocked. Bill was the father-in-law I had prayed for. Someone I could talk to intelligently, someone who supported our marriage and someone who could be a pillar when we needed. He may have had some shortcomings but who doesn’t.
I told him that he had nothing to apologize for, and that he was the one I prayed for. He was quick to shut down my conversation. Reminding me that, “When someone wants to apologize, let them.”
That night I learned a life lesson. When someone is being sincere, let them. When someone wants to help you, let them.
|Dancing at our wedding.|
Through “Copygate” I have been reminded of this lesson over and over again. So many people have reached out to us wanting to help. We never want to involve people in our problems as we feel that it is our responsibility to clean Our house. I was reminded, that as our friends, it is more frustrating for them to sit on the sidelines watching us burn than it would be to help. Not allowing people to help you is far more hurtful. As a person who is independent and have always had to do things on her own this is a hard pill to swallow.
So the lesson, let your friends be your friends. That is Their privilege. On the path of life, walking alone is sometimes nice but walking in a parade is a lot more fun.
I think of this story often, I still cry when tell it outloud and am grateful for the lesson. Bill has since passed, I still miss him much, especially when I need to be steadied.