Tammy Helfrich

Life begins right where you are.

The Power of a Life Well Lived

Twenty nine years is a really long time. I remember when I couldn’t even imagine what that many years meant.

On this day, all those years ago, we said goodbye to my dad. It was such a bittersweet day. We were so thankful his suffering was over, but we didn’t want to say goodbye. Who ever wants to say goodbye to those who are crossing over to the other side?

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I also have mixed feelings about this day. The day is forever marked in my mind because it changed our family dynamic and we lost the person who so easily made our family complete.  I certainly don’t want to celebrate it, but I also don’t want to continually mourn it either. Instead, I choose to remember his life and the impact he had on me and so many others.

Over the last few years, I’ve learned about the power of the impact of a life well lived. I only knew my dad for 14 short years. And I never knew him as an adult. But the lessons he taught me are still so powerful and I try to incorporate them into my own life. Here are a few that continue to resonate with me:

Be present – My dad was so good at this. He was a successful, hard working entrepreneur. But when he was home, he was present. We did things together. We spent time in nature. He listened. He truly saw you.

Be adventurous – My dad loved adventure. He loved to take risks and do things he had never done before. He loved to hunt and fish and do any kind of activity you could do outdoors. I have such great memories of learning to ice skate and jump off of cliffs and water ski and hike and fish all night. He always embraced his passions and was the first one to say yes to a new adventure.

Be faithful – He was faithful to God, his family and his friends. He was loyal and steadfast. You could always count on him to do what he said and to believe that faith could get you through anything. What an incredible example he was in this area.

Be happy – I have very few memories of my dad not being happy. I’m sure there were plenty of times that he was frustrated and we didn’t see it. But he had a very happy disposition and chose to smile as much as he could. He loved to brighten someone else’s day with a smile and a laugh.

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Be authentic – My dad was real. He didn’t put on pretenses and he was direct.  But he always did it in a loving and respectful way. The Noah you saw at work was the Noah you saw at home and church and anywhere else.

Be a lover of nature – My dad loved nature. He especially loved sunrises and sunsets. See, now you know where I get my love of horizons! :) He taught us to appreciate the outdoors and the beauty of this earth. I know I certainly didn’t truly understand this until I was older. We are so blessed by an amazing earth bursting with beauty in so many different ways. We just need to learn to pay better attention.

Be willing to go where you haven’t gone before – Although he didn’t get to do it as much as he wanted, my dad had a love of travel. He taught me to understand that you see things differently when you leave your own surroundings.  It can be in your own town and going to places that others aren’t willing to go. Or it can be going to completely different countries. He wanted to see the world, and I definitely got this desire from watching his love of new places.

Love unconditionally – I think this is the most  important lesson I’ve continued to learn from him even years after he is gone. He modeled this better than anyone I have ever known. He loved everyone. Period. He never met a stranger. My dad was always the one who would stop and help someone or simply go out of his way to do something nice for someone simply because he could. He did not judge and always reinforced that regardless of what we did, he would always love us. I still have so much to learn from this example.

My dad was awesome. Yes, of course, I’m biased. He was not perfect. Nobody is. But the way he lived his life has greatly impacted me for all of my life, as well as anyone who knew him.

When I was younger, I definitely felt cheated that I had such little time with him. But now that I am older, I realize how blessed I was to have any time at all with him on this earth. He made my life better. And his legacy lives on through me and our family and my own kids.  I’m so thankful for his beautiful example of living a life well.

I’d love to hear about your dad. What lessons did you learn from him?  What makes him awesome? Share in the comments.

 

 

11 Comments

  1. Praying for you as you remember. My dad is awesome bc he chose me through adoption. No matter what I did to try to make him not love me he never once said I wasn’t his. In fact he kept calling me his.

  2. What a beautiful way to remember your dad, Tammy <3

  3. So beautiful, Tammy. You embody all of those beautiful qualities and lessons you learned from your dad. What an amazing legacy you reflect. I am so thankful for your life and your encouragement! You have greatly blessed my life!

    One of the things I admired the most about my dad is that he treated everyone with equal respect. He made everyone feel valued and appreciated.

  4. I love this Tammy, thank you for sharing! One of the biggest lessons that my dad taught me was to live every day to the fullest, and not to wait to do tomorrow what you can do today. In the years after his initial cancer diagnosis he really embodied this way of life and spent the last years of his life happy and fulfilled. Of course there are many other things he taught me because he was an amazing man but this is the one lesson that I can only hope I can pass along to my kids as well as he did to me.

  5. Wow!!! Thanks for sharing that!

  6. Beautifully written. Sounds like an amazing dad and man. My dad taught me to always treat everyone with respect and to always walk your own path, among many other things.

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