Life Lessons From the Death of a Loved One

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What Does Death Teach Us About Life?

Recently, my Dad passed away. It’s heartbreaking and horrific in every way. The most common reflection from grieving people is that this traumatic event makes you realise what’s important in life. Specifically, life lessons such as to love more, argue less, and appreciate life. Take each day as it comes. While taking time to stop and smell the flowers, as the metaphor goes.

I am no different and completely concur. Our sentiments are supported by the men on death row. Asked, by one study, for their last words when they were in the gas chamber, they spoke not of anger, bitterness & hate, but of love, kindness & a wish for their loved ones to be happy.

The build I would like to offer is that of an unexpected help that Dad ‘going upstairs’ has brought. In so doing, he has passed down many life lessons.

Father and son walking on beach promenade for life lessons
Life lessons you cherish even after they’re gone


My Dad was a titan in the Grocery Industry, I am proud to say. He started selling rabbits outside a store at the age of 14 for 4D, or some such Victorian currency (That’s one for you, Dad, to make you smile). He retired from Sainsbury’s as Retail Director, after a shift of 40 years. It was a time when ‘retail was detail’, and if JD (John Sainsbury) were to enter your store, you wished that Sainsbury’s sold books in aisle 4 for your trousers.

‘DL’ (DL Smith) as he was known, was no different. People Management was more considered to be a sport than a support. But that was then and as DL retired, he mellowed. And during those 28 years of retirement, he achieved a lovely balance of having the experience of a great career with an appreciation for life.

Coaches for Life Lessons

Since his passing, I have found myself asking, what would Dad do? Because he is fast becoming my best coach, passing on so many life lessons. Also, he guided me to be a better person, offered suggestions that weren’t previously coming to me, and also being my biggest fan telling me that he is proud, that I am okay, and that it will be okay too.

So, yes, someone passing is painful in every way and you wish they were there. Unfortunately, the ‘circle of life’ and all that. So, if we can take some small element of good in all the sorrow, let’s use their presence to help us to be the very best version of ourselves by talking to them. If you see me talking to myself, when I think I’m alone, please say hello to us both.

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