I always admit that I’m a selfish person. I’ve always been that way, since I was a child. I can’t really deny it. There were Betamax videos of me refusing to share my toys with other children, and others were I’m basically making my little sister work harder than she had to. When people ask for help, my first instinct is to think twice because I probably don’t want to do it.
The positive aspect of this is that I recognize this shortfall. So, I try to really avoid selfish acts as much as I can. I’m not always successful, but who is?
One of the most selfless people I knew was my father. Obviously, I’m biased, but I only remembered him doing good things for other people. Despite the fact that he was limited in his means, he did what he could. It was never too obvious, or too extravagant. It was always something small, yet memorable. It was only after he died that I realized how much of a selfless person he was.
During every funeral, it’s customary that people are given an opportunity to speak on the departed’s behalf. It’s the opportunity to show what life this person led – what legacy they left behind. Many times, it’s a couple of people, mainly family. During my father’s funeral, it was completely different.
At that moment, his friends had found it in themselves to talk about my father. My husband tells me it was about an hour. I can clearly remember the sentiment and feelings from these kind people. Some of them had travelled quite far, others hadn’t seen him or spoken with him in over 10 to 15 years. Yet, sometime in their life, my father had made such an impact, that they wanted to come and pay their respects. The underlying theme was this: My father was an inspiration to them in some way. He was a great friend who did what he could for his coworkers and friends. He found ways to comfort people with his laugh and his support. Even after all these years, his kindness left an impression throughout their time apart. He was a great friend.
In those moments, I felt a renewed sense of purpose. I felt that if there was anything I could do in my life, it would be to inspire, give hope and help others the way my father did. If I could be like him or honor him in that way, then I think I would be able to say that I was a good person in this life. In saying this, I knew it would take a while, and a lot of effort. But, I think it’s worth it to become a better person.
A funny thing happened during my PPD / PPA recovery. On my very last day of support group, the women were kind enough to give me a send-off of sorts. They told me that I was inspirational, and that my candid stories and desire to help others really made an impact. The group’s heartfelt send-off was more than I thought I deserved. In those moments, I lost myself. All these years, I had struggled to find ways to be a good person, without any preconceived notions or selfish motives. Yet, here, while I was at my most honest and darkest moments, something had changed. Thanks to these women, I suddenly became my father. In the beginning of the support group, I shared my struggles to seek comfort for my own pain. As time passed by, I shared them in hopes to help others. I shared my progress and recovery so that others could do the same. I did this because I just wanted the others to get better. If I can, they can too. I had no idea that being so honest would help them in any way. I was humbled and thankful. I cried my eyes out. I felt that my father was smiling down at me – showing me that the smallest action could result in something bigger.
That feeling of being inspirational is addicting. Knowing that you can help someone find their way is so satisfying. Of course, I’m always going to be a work in progress, and I hope this blog will help in some way!