On the way down to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College for my first class in my Masters degree program, my father’s doctor called to tell me that my dad had terminal cancer. Thoughts of my dad and caring for his needs along with my siblings dominated that class. It became part of my story. In that cohort, I was the student who’s father was dying.
Our stories are not only what defines us but also our gift to ourselves and others. The professor for that first class, Sister Alexa, although a strict teacher, looked after me with tenderness. We became friends because of this, and I treasured her guidance and wisdom.
Through the pain of my father’s illness and death, I was blessed with a powerful mentor. I gained knowledge and experience that I’ve used many times to mentor others, giving value to an otherwise difficult experience. I allowed my pain to transform and bloom.