Those times that feel like they are the most difficult of life’s moments are actually giving you numerous gifts.

Unfortunately, it takes time and a certain awareness before you can receive them. On my next birthday, I know I will not have my father with me, and it is indeed a great sadness for me. Yet this same situation also brings me worthwhile life lessons. First of all is something that we all know but don’t really feel, namely the value of living in the moment, the “now.” The basic fact is that each moment is priceless, unique, and unrepeatable. During each moment, we are born and we die, until all of a sudden, a moment comes when we must leave this world for good. The process through which my father left this world was too short for me, just one week. After living through this, all the problems, situations, and obsessions seem so meaningless to me. You start to question why you create so many problems around the events of a world that you may be leaving in a week or even sooner. You realize the value of the present and the importance of living in the moment. More importantly, rather than simply knowing this, you start to feel it.

The next stage is wanting to gift your moments to the friends that you cherish. A sort of “friend detox” comes on the scene. Until just a few years ago, I could never end a friendship. I would even phone those “friends” that never thought to call me, just so I could keep them in my life. In recent years, however, I slowly started to learn how to say goodbye to those people whose mission in my life was complete. After my father’s passing, this evolution accelerated and came more naturally. I started to prioritize quality over quantity. I started to question why I was giving my precious moments to those who had not made me feel close to them during one of my most difficult moments. By this, I don’t mean a physical closeness, and this is also something I cannot always do. This is why I referred to “feeling” close.

There have been people I’ve felt close to, even if they were in Italy, Australia, or Peru, yet there have also been people I’ve felt distant from, despite living in the same city. I thought it was unfair to hold some friends to the same level. For example, one friend came to my dad’s funeral despite having pneumonia, while another just called me 15 days later to ask if I wanted to go out. I realized how some of the friends I believed were close were actually very distant, while some of those I didn’t regard to be close were in fact very dear. Maybe I had unreasonable expectations from my “close” friends, who knows? I learned that expectation is also not a good thing. So, what other lessons did I learn? Ah yes, I realized that a line sent through WhatsApp or even just an emoticon can sometimes be good support for your mental state.

Please do not misunderstand me. I love you all. I didn’t know all this until going through this process. Yet another thing I learned was how to support a friend who has lost someone dear. I made myself so clear to those I hadn’t felt close to during this process. I either wrote to them or talked to them directly about how they had made me feel. Some then decided to stay by my side, while others did not really care. When a person’s mission in your life is completed, those painful events may be opening a door through which they can leave your life. The healthiest thing to do in such cases is to let them leave with love. I learned how to say goodbye with love.

It has been just over a month since the passing of my father, and these are a few examples of the gifts I received during this process. As for the rest, I’ll reserve them for the moments I share with my closest friends.  Everything that happens in life happens for our own good. We just need to view it from the right perspective.