I hugged him, kissed his forehead and said good night. As I turned to walk away, he grabbed my arm and said, “This is a good day, such a good day!” It was a month before he passed away.
On a day that was circled with oxygen levels, medication and a sheepskin-covered recliner – the things that became his life toward the end – I marveled at those words. I looked at him in amazement and smiled at this incredible man. His mind was bright and clear, but it was as though his body was wilting as the determined disease gained control.
Even though he knew he was dying, he continued to be grateful and look at life in a positive way. But that was my dad, Charlie Hunt. He was a teacher. Every day that he walked into his classroom filled with students, he felt he was making a difference in their lives. But, outside of that, I am not sure if he knew he was teaching and making a difference to others in the grander classroom of life.
He demonstrated lessons in humility, kindness, dedication and compassion. Once, when I had treated him to a special gift, he said, “Oh, I don’t need anything this fancy; you know we are just simple people.”
My dad was teaching, even in his last days. The final lesson he taught me was that no matter what life brings your way, always remember to begin and end every day knowing, “This is a good day, such a good day!”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all live life as simple people who celebrate every day in this way? What if we looked past the worries, the discontent, the struggles and the disappointment in our lives? What if we reached for the good, the simple, the small and special moments? These are what matter.
When my dad spoke these magic words, he wasn’t thinking about what would happen to his truck or his home. He wasn’t thinking about what might happen tomorrow. For him, he knew there may not be a tomorrow. He was living in that moment. He was taking that breath. He was sinking into the safety and softness of the sheepskin on his chair. He was enjoying the touch of my hand. He was feeling the contentment of his life accomplishments.
I am ashamed to admit that it took that moment for me to realize this space of uncomplicated simplicity. It took this lesson from my father for me to notice what is important. The words he spoke have become a meaningful mantra in my life. It is the message on my answering machine. It is taped to the front of my computer screen. It is the way I respond to life every day. It is my gift to you today. Learn this mantra. Speak it. Live it. Because … “This is a good day, such a good day!”
Pennie’s Life Lesson: “No matter what life brings your way, begin and end every day knowing ‘This is a good day, such a good day!’”