Saying goodbye never gets easier. No matter how many times, or to what degree you have to do it. And, this goodbye is no different.

Today, I received news that a good friend of mine was struggling with the very, very recent passing of their dad. When I heard the news this morning of his passing my heart went out to the family. My friend’s sister and her little one found Pops when they went on their daily walk on their ranch. It brought memories of my father-in-law’s passing. It definitely brought to memory the passing of my dad. And my heart went out to their family.

I’ve talked numerous times to Pops and I’ve always left the conversation feeling uplifted. You know, I’m proof that people change. Or can change. But, Pops, he was even bigger proof. A man who, like us all, made mistakes and was defined by the labels given to him by those past mistakes. He had to dig himself out of what those labels misidentified him as: dead beat, alcoholic, a lost cause to prove he was a good person to his family and more importantly to himself. And he did.

If there is anything that Pops would want is that we learn from what he had to push through. And so, here is what I would believe he would want to say…

People can change. No matter what others will tell you. No matter what your mind will say. People can be better if they choose to be. If you really want to be a better man, a better woman, you can be. You’re a hot head? Then find a way to step back when things are starting to upset you. Your mouth is a little quick? Practice controlling your mouth by not responding for at least an hour after something upsets you. You have a tendency to lie and cheat? Remove yourself from the situations that get you caught up in that. You drown yourself in alcohol or take drugs to numb pain? Find a more positive outlet.

I know all of these are really menial solutions to some really big issues. But, honestly, the only real issue is: do you love yourself enough to change? I am a hot head and am quick with my tongue. I’ve found that my temper flares when I’m sick, tired, hungry, or around “stupid.” I tend to find reasons to drink alcohol so the constant battle with my old self is numbed out. I know all of that about myself. And, I can answer that question. Yes, I love myself enough to change. Which is the reason that I cling to God’s promises. Which is the reason I try to find silver linings. Which is the reason that when angry I surround myself around the right people, or good music to calm my already always messed up nerves. I love myself enough to find healing, to find happiness, to love.

Pops was right: Everyone can change with love. People don’t often realize that the love he spoke about wasn’t falling in love, being in love, loving one another. It was loving yourself. Now, my darling friend, you say you can’t be the person you need to be without your dad. I’m telling you now that your dad would dispute that. You can be. You just have to love yourself enough. I know you can do it. I’ve always believed in you, I still do. All of my love and prayers to you and your family. And trust me, both with reach Texas.

In loving memory of you, Pops. Thank you for always teaching me that love, patience, and a controlled temper could get me through all the sticky situations. Thank you for always being positive, and for always praying for peace and God’s perfect will. I know your family will dearly miss you. I know I will. xoxo