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James O'Halloran standing in front of his father wearing a suit

Reflecting on Life: A Heartfelt Eulogy Turned Reminder – Insights from a Business Coach

I wrote this and put it on LinkedIn and Insta on 13th December 2022. My dad died on 26th March 2023, almost 10 months ago. I stumbled across the post and I wanted to reshare it here, as a reminder to myself. The original post follows:

I sat down to write my dad’s eulogy…

He’s not even dead.

Isn’t it strange that the most profound words we will ever speak about someone will likely be after they can’t hear them?

I want my dad to know now while he’s very much alive what I might say when he’s not.

My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer 4 years ago. In some senses, it was a relief to him because he’d been feeling like a hypochondriac.

After they diagnosed they pulled his file.

They wanted to know why the cancerous mass in his lung which was now far too big to operate on had managed to grow to 6.5 centimetres (which is huge).

And —in all the previous X-Rays— it was there.

They had missed it.

For 5 years.

The most senior doctor called my mum and dad in to profusely and profoundly apologise for missing it.

This doctor was more than sorry or embarrassed he was ashamed.

He explained that they had already changed the protocol such that this couldn’t happen again.

He also went on to explain that my dad could sue.

And, as it sounded to me by the time this scene was relayed, he was encouraging my dad to do so. Despite the fact that this would have been terrible for both the hospital and this doctor. I can imagine it helped the doctor alleviate his feelings of guilt. After all, he bravely took ultimate responsibility for this mishap.

My dad didn’t miss a beat…

“I could fight it in court!”

“But I’d rather fight the disease, and with your help.”

My dad didn’t look back and lament or look into litigation…

This story illustrates a quality of my dad that is uncommon…

He can accept and let go in the blink of an eye.

My dad in this one moment role modelled that the past isn’t real and there’s no point getting stuck re-living it. Live for now!

Although it feels important to finish this eulogy, it feels more important to call my dad in hospital so I’m off to do that.

We had a 40min call.

We are connecting now in a way we never could before.

Dying, it seems, can tenderise and heal.

Just as well he’s not there yet.

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