If we are lucky, we have someone in our lives who brightens the fire of our most true selves. Who is a person who has been through and seen enough life that they can provide some perspective on what is most important to us, who helps us grow and shine and provide a place for comfort when we need it. I was fortunate enough to have this person as my Dad.
He was a force bigger than life, Dad was. He had an irresistible smile and presence; he was a superhero to a lot of people. When I listened to the family and friends who spoke at his service, I realized that he really had been a special glue that held people together. He had the right things to say, the way to cut through the bullshit to the real root of a problem, but always in a way that left people feeling strong and positive for having come to him for perspective.
For a lot of people Dad was a person, if not the only person, they trusted to care for them unconditionally, without judgement or pretense. He could read a room, and even in a tough situation, could facilitate conversation. He wouldn’t take it personally if you needed some space. He had a commanding sense of humor that he used to put people at ease; and he did it all by being his most authentic self.
In the short time he has been gone, I have moved to a new state, had three children, and started a new business. Being an entrepreneur himself, and knowing how much he loved to watch me thrive, I know he would be proud. It occurs to me that my dad never knew me as a doula, and I’m pretty sure would have no idea what a doula was. Which a bit ironic, because even though by day he owned a car repair shop, he was really my model for great doula care.
Dad made you feel comfortable in tough situations. Whether you were unsure, afraid, excited or just needed to celebrate with someone, you could call on him. He was the person who would listen, validate, and help you come to the conclusion that was right for you. He was unconditional support. He exuded confidence and calm that left you feeling the same. He always seemed to know the answer to your questions, and if he didn’t, he wouldn’t stop until your curiosity was satisfied.
My dad was a cheerleader and a helper to pitch in when you really needed it. He could provide the comfort and strength you until you could be strong again for yourself. He gave great hugs, genuine laughter, and an intentional sense of purpose to all those he spent time with. He was someone with whom you could be real. He had a powerful sense of family and a genuine love for kids. You just knew you were going to have a good time while he was there, and feel better about yourself when he left.
My dad was not only a doula, he was my first doula.