Letter: “My Dad is not okay”

Hello, Byron Katie,

My name is Janet. It has been 18 months since my dad was killed (radiation treatment for cancer) and I just cannot come to terms with what happened to him. He is my best friend; I love him more than the universe. He wasn’t a very happy man in his later years, but was only 70 when he was killed. I let him go initially as I felt there was a hereafter, but I have not heard from him personally, nothing, no dreams of him. I cannot believe that a person I (and my mum and twin sister) can be so close to, love him so much and not know for sure he is okay. I cannot stop being in agony all the time and no-one understands. What can I do? I also lost my beautiful dog, my uncle my aunt and my grandmother all around the same time (18 months). I can cope with their loss, just, but not my dad. Thank you for your time. You are the most amazing person I have ever read about, you know the truth, see through the illusion, and I would love to hear what you have to say about my hurt. Thank you again.

Best wishes and thank you for your Work,
Janet

Dearest Janet,

I hear from you that you’re afraid your father is not okay in death. I would ask that you answer the following questions. “Your dad is not okay”—is that true? Can you absolutely know that it’s true that he is not okay? How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? I hear that you are in agony, you feel that no one understands, you believe that you can’t cope, you are hurt. What else? Get as quiet as you can and trace what happens as a result of believing this very painful thought. How do you treat yourself when you believe it? How do you treat the people around you? Notice what more is affected when you believe the thought. Then ask yourself who you would be without the thought. Who would you be, living your life after your father died of cancer, if you didn’t even have the ability to think the thought “My dad is not okay”? Then turn the thought around and find at least three genuine examples for each turnaround. How is each one true? For example, “My dad is okay.” Would you like to hear two examples that I found? 1) He has never spoken up to give you any sign that he is in agony, that he isn’t okay. 2) You are guessing and don’t know. What other examples can you find on your own and without my help?

Another turnaround, a turnaround to the self, would be “I am not okay” (in the moment when I believe my dad is not okay).” Continue finding turnarounds and examples for each turnaround until you are free to think this thought, without believing it and without pain, angel. A thought unbelieved is a welcomed friend, not an agony-maker. You can take care of one of you, and that would be the one who you know for sure is suffering, and that would be you. I care deeply that you stay with yourself and give yourself the gift of freedom from agony around this unquestioned assumption, and if you want to end suffering in your family, deal with your own suffering first. If you can’t take care of your own suffering, how can you help others, “dead” or alive? Be still, angel. The answers that will set you free are within you. Ask, wait, listen, and be enlightened to what you already know. This enlightenment brings you closer to your father, much closer than agony ever could. Love is the power, and you have it within you to ignite that power.

You might also check in with yourself about the three kinds of business. Whose business is it if you are not okay? Whose business is it if your dad is not okay? If you can get only this straight, it could make things a lot easier for you to begin to do The Work.

Until we know that death is as good as life, and that it always comes at just the right time, we’re going to take on the role of God without the awareness of it, and it’s always going to hurt. Whenever you mentally oppose what is, when you think that you know what should and shouldn’t happen, you’re going to experience sadness and apparent separation. There’s no sadness without an unquestioned story. What is is, because it is. You are it.

You imagine an afterlife, and you feel devastated that your father hasn’t communicated with you, that you haven’t even dreamed of him, except as a waking dream, and it is a nightmare. No one knows what death is. Maybe it’s not a something; maybe it’s not even a nothing. It’s the pure unknown, and I love that. We imagine that death is a state of being or a state of nothingness, and we frighten ourselves with our own concepts. I’m a lover of what is: I love sickness and health, coming and going, life and death. I see life and death as equal. Reality is good; so death must be good, whatever it is, if it’s anything at all. Death is kind enough to be still and silent, and I appreciate that. Everything else is projected into that stillness by your mind.

I hope that you write down all your stressful thoughts about your father and your projected “afterlife,” sweetheart, and do The Work on them. That is the only way I know that will help you out of your misery. Whatever else I may say won’t help you, even if you believe that I am telling the truth, even if you believe that I am the most enlightened person who ever walked the face of the earth. It’s only your own wisdom that has the power to show you the way out of confusion. So I invite you to The Work. Question what you are believing about your father. It’s not your father’s death that is causing your suffering; it’s your unquestioned thoughts about him and “his” death. I invite you to question these, and set yourself free.

In deepest gratitude for your stillness and devotion to what lives in you,
bk