TODAY marks 11 years since my father died.
Nick and I had got married earlier that week and I clearly remember the call from my brother-in-law who had just returned to the UK with my sister after my wedding.
He told me that they had arrived and gone straight to the hospital as my father (who had recently turned 80) had had a heart attack and was in intensive care.
I decided that I wanted to go back and be with him and booked the quickest flight possible, which was still going to be the best part of 36 hours door to door.
I got as far as Brisbane only to discover that my international flight was delayed due to someone dying from a heart attack on the inbound leg of that flight from Auckland. Ironic.
That delay meant that I would miss my connection in Dubai where I was meeting up with my eldest sister to travel on to London.
When I finally got to Dubai I heard the news that my father had had a series of heart attacks and died.
Nick and I had arranged to be back in the UK in August that year partly as our honeymoon trip but also to celebrate my sister’s 50th birthday, both my parents’ 80th birthdays and their 55th wedding anniversary. It turned out to be a very different trip to the one we had envisaged.
Fast forward another five years and while studying in Sydney I had a call from my sister letting me know that our mother had died unexpectedly yet peacefully that night.
We had made the difficult decision three years earlier to move her into a care home as she had dementia and needed 24-hour support.
These two major events particularly, and many other major and minor ones in between, helped me to realise that everything in life is a result of the choices we make along the way.
Sometimes those choices turn out well, sometimes we make them work, sometimes they end up challenging us. In retrospect, would I change any of the choices I have made so far? Maybe. Yet I know that it’s not possible to change them, I can only learn from them and choose differently next time. And I take full responsibility for that.
How about you?
Rowena Hardy is a facilitator, performance coach and partner of Minds Aligned: www.mindsaligned.com.au