Over the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot about death. I was directly involved in my father’s ten months of hospice care, and wrote many blogs about that. In January and February I wrote about the after-death experience.

A few weeks ago I lit a spirit fire for both of my parents. It was my father’s birthday and the three-year anniversary of my mother’s death. The fire is a portal to the Spirit World. Lighting the fire is a ritual that honors the spirits that guide us. For me, this fire was also about holding space for my parents—their physical presence may be gone but their impact on the world is not. Although I had a difficult relationship with my parents, I still honor their bringing me into the world.

A few days ago my father came to me. He was troubled and needed to tell me something. He had never been very comfortable with feelings, and the process of getting to the heart of his concern took a while. I needed to step away from being the daughter and just be the channeler. Here are some parts of that conversation:

What is it that you want to achieve by saying this, whatever it is.
I want to make sure that when I travel farther away, the people who need these words will have them.
So it’s a gift.

[He lifts his eyebrows]. I guess you could say that. That’s a nicer way to say it. I was thinking of it as a burden. A burden that I’m dragging around and it just can’t go with me to the lighter place.
An apology can be a gift. It may not change everything that happened in the past, but it can change the future going forward. For everyone. It can lighten everyone’s load.
That is what I had in mind.
We could all use that.
[He looks al little more confident].
Alright then. I’m going to tell a story. 

He proceeded to tell me a very intense and painful story about his childhood, with many details and connections over time that I had never heard before. Deeper layers that he had never told anyone.
There is so much more to this. I could go on. But this is the story I wanted to tell. No one knows this, this beginning of my life that formed everything else. You do the best with what you’ve got. Sometimes that’s enough. Sometimes it falls short. I’d like to think that I did well by my family, by my children. Sometimes you fall short, and that is how it is, I guess.

I’ve been told it’s not the circumstances of your life, exactly, because everyone gets something to deal with. I see that here [in the spirit world]. Life gets brought along into Death and then we have a chance to go over it again and make it right if we can. That’s what I’m trying to do here. I’m bringing my story into focus and seeing it more clearly.

What I wanted to tell you was that I treated you the only way I knew. I could say that it wasn’t personal, except that you were my child. I understand so much more now that I’m here. I didn’t see those things when I was there. I might have seen them, but they didn’t fit what I thought things should be, so I let it go. I did a lot of blaming of other people when I should have been looking at myself. There. That’s what I needed to get around to. I was blaming other people for my own shortcomings. I took out my history on people who had nothing to do with that, because the people who were responsible for it were all gone from me.
And what is it that you want to say to change that.
I’m sorry! [He’s sobbing. I’m crying]. I’m so sorry! I want to take it back, but I can’t. It’s too late. It’s moved on through other people, into their lives, and I can’t stop that.
But we can change the energy of it. I can say Thank You for sharing your story. Because it helps me understand you better. It helps me to not personalize it so much. I need to say I’m Sorry too. I’m sorry for reacting and creating disharmony. I’m not sorry for standing up for myself. It’s what you tried to do too. It’s what we all need to do. But then we also need to see the bigger picture. Who knows what made those people in your life make choices that hurt you. We are all connected. By our behavior. By our humanity. 

I can be a bigger person. I can learn from this, and from my own life, and choose to live within a larger perspective. There is room for your history. There is room for my history. There is room for our history. Because there is room for everything.
We have made the choices we made. That is called the Past. Being open in the Present, that is what makes the Future.