By HEDLEY GALT
About a month after my father died my brother found his journals, writings we had never known existed. Dad knew he was dying and having kept these journals hidden for most of his sixty-nine years, he left them in a place where he knew we would eventually discover them.
I often suspected there was more to Dad than what he would let on. Dad was a man with secrets. A couple of times over the years he would make a comment like, ‘One day you’ll know the truth.’ I never knew what he meant by this. Until we found the journals.
A few days before my father did pass away, he turned to me and said, ‘my one regret in life is that I never had a truly loving relationship’. Which is not to say my father was ever short of female attention. Had he been in a better state of health, this serial dater would have taken his very attractive nurse out to dinner. Dad was never short of a date. But the regret of never having truly experienced love is a big call for anyone to be making on their deathbed.
My father’s journals detailed a 30-year love affair with a woman called B. He met B the year I was born while still married to my mother. This is a woman he professed on page to love for almost half his life. My father had never mentioned this woman or the affair, even though I now realise this is what he had been alluding to over the years.
My father had experienced love, but died regretting not having the full experience because, in my opinion, it was a love he couldn’t be honest about. I’ll never know the reason behind why Dad never told us about B. Or the affair. Or why he wanted us to know either for that matter. After all he could have burned the journals and taken his secret to his grave. But he didn’t. He wanted his family to know the truth.
What I have learnt from this experience is that I don’t want to be on my deathbed, looking my children in the eye and telling them how I regret not knowing what it feels like to really know love. F that! While I love, respect and cherish my father with all my heart, how wonderful it would have been to have had that conversation with him. It would have brought us closer together. It would have helped me understand him more. It would have enabled our love to grow and expand and deepen. Because love is truth. And intimacy is the willingness to share this truth with another. No holds barred.
When the beautiful Eloise invited me to be a Soul Sessions contributor I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. My thing these days is authenticity. Possibly because of this experience with my Dad. And possibly because up until a few years ago I too felt like I was living a big, fat lie. I’ve come along way in the last couple of years and there’s still a long way to go.
Authentic expression is a process. A slow, fascinating and at times uncomfortable removal of the layers. One button at a time. So I wanted to use this opportunity to explore authenticity further. What it looks, tastes, sounds, smells and feels like? Because, in my very limited experience, I know when I expand into a more honest expression of who I am, the happier I am, the more fulfilled I am, the more successful I am. And the more love I experience in all areas of my life, including my relationships. And I believe that’s something worth writing about.
So let go of your hats because together we are going to start getting seriously (and not so seriously) real. Starting right here. Right now.
Soul Sessions salutes the awesome Hedley Galt, author of
Real, Raw and Original: An Authentic Approach To Public Speaking
When and where will we all meet again?
Tomorrow? Fresh soul for your hole from Matt Omo ~ A Grand Love Story
Friday Feb 1? In person at our Melbourne launch Feb 1 ~ A Meaningful Life
Any time day or night? Soul Sessions Facebook page