The Eternal Wisdom of Jeff Stamps
It has been four years today since my dad passed away from pancreatic cancer. When he was first diagnosed, he was given a few weeks to live. He lived for 13 months, and in that time he taught me an extraordinary amount about living and about dying. I have been thinking about those lessons as I approached the anniversary this year.
He focused on:
– Spending his energy on people, places and concepts that were meaningful to him and that he loved. He continued to learn throughout this period.
– Taking each day as it came. During his palliative care, he never knew if it would be a good day or a bad day and remained open to how it unfolded. This openness seemed to allow for more days falling into the “good” category than may have otherwise been possible.
– Being grateful for the time he had. There was never bitterness about the short diagnosis he was given, but rather a commitment to make the most of the time he had with the highest quality of life he could muster. There was no more waiting and putting off that which he wanted to do.
– Taking care of his body. My dad was a competitive skier as a young guy and he continued his athletic endeavors throughout his life. He could proudly list the new sports he learned after age 45 and 50. It was quite impressive and he continued through his illness to do tai chi, to jog, to walk in the woods and even to ski.
Above all he was brave. He did not fear what was ahead. He focused on the present and handled it with grace.
In his death, he taught me a huge amount about how to live my life. On this fourth anniversary, I take great comfort and pride in knowing that in this past year, I have taken huge strides towards living my life more aligned to these lessons than in the previous three since we lost him.
I learned more than I could ever articulate from my dad, and I am grateful that I continue to benefit from his wisdom.