My father-in-law passed away this last weekend, and as I was with him the week before I drove to Texas to visit family I watched him and the thought of "letting go" came to my mind. We start as babies learning to let go. We let go of our bottles (or breastfeeding), of diapers, we have to learn to let go of being with our mommies all of the time and some of us have to learn to let go of a pacifier or sucking a thumb. We also have to learn to let go of our crib (or of sleeping in the bed with our parents) and move into a big bed. (There's alot of letting go for one so young!) We let go of tricycles for bicycles with training wheels and eventually, we let go of the training wheels and learn to ride without help.
We let go of houses when we have to move, cars when they have served their purpose (or until we get bored with them) as well as bad habits when we grow tired of them affecting our lives in negative ways. Sometimes we have to let go of friends when they move away, when they have taught us lessons we needed to learn from them or helped us at a time we needed it, or even when we have outgrown our friendships. We also have to let go of our children when they grow up and move away, and then also have to learn to let go of our roles as the "mom" to all those younger children at home. (something I've had to learn to do)
Some things are easier to let go than others but I believe there is still a lesson in it.
As I stated earlier, my father-in-law passed away last Saturday, but before he died I watched him letting go of his independence, his golf game (years ago) and his wonderful ability to sing and play various instruments which brought joy to all of our lives. (I believe he was also letting go of his wife of over 60 years and maybe saw that she would be okay with so much family to help her and take care of her.)
At the end (the last week of his life) he answered my brother-in-law's question to him about what he was thinking, "I'm thinking about winning the game", he said softly (his breathing was difficult),"but I think it's a lost cause." He was "letting go" or in his words, "I think I need to concede the game."
This life is one big "letting go" of small things, physical things, emotional issues, and even at times, people. My father-in-law let go of his physical, tired, worn-out heart and body to live again with our Father-in-Heaven (who he let go of in physical presence- but not in spirit- when my father-in-law came to earth into his body and learning life lessons) as well as seeing those long, lost relatives who had gone on before him.
It is now his family's turn to let go of him for a while in order for us to continue our learning of letting go until our final letting go of this life when we will see him again free of all of our physical limitations with lessons learned. He lived 88 wonderful years, had eight sons, twenty-nine grandchildren and approximately thirty-six great grandchildren that continue to multiply. He was as kind and gracious in his dying as he was in his living and he will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Someday it will be my turn to let go of this earthly life; may I live as gracious and kindly as he did and die in the same manner.
"As you walk down the fairway of life,
you must smell the roses for you only get
to play one round."-----Ben Hogan