Circle of Love: In Loving Memory of My Father

by Jo-Ann Downey

in Inspiration

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My beloved father, John (“Jay”) Joseph Downey, passed away on November 30, 2010.  Without exaggeration, for 78 years my father was a constant source of positive, fun, joyful, helpful, loving, and compassionate energy.  To me, one of his most memorable qualities was that he was not an advice-giver, unless asked.  And even then it was a gentle process.  I learned to trust myself, a great gift indeed, because of the freedom, gentle nature, and trust I experienced with my father.

Here is my experience of how I know that my father continues to be an ever-present and loving light in my life.

My flight from Southern California to Boston to visit my father included a layover in Dallas.  I was oddly, and strongly, compelled to buy a particular gift for him.  I went with the feeling.  Actually, the feeling was too strong to ignore.  I had never thought of buying this particular thing for my father and, luckily, airports typically have them.

My father was in the ICU and I suddenly realized that my father would never truly use the gift; the magnitude of the true meaning of the gift was uplifting.  It was a symbol of my deep and infinite love for him.  For six days I went to the ICU and showered with my father with love; he was easy to love.  My father passed away on the seventh day- one week from when I first saw him in the ICU.

Three days after my father passed away I was blessed to be part of a volunteer community where I have served for three years.   Every December, and this was the December service weekend, there is a Holiday appreciation luncheon for the volunteers.  It is a joyful event and we receive a gift of appreciation.  When I looked over at the gift table, I knew what our gift was going to be.  When we simultaneously opened the gift, I wept with joy.  It was the same gift that I got for my father – a keychain.  I felt showered with love from my father since there were about 75 volunteers and 75 keychains!   I thought “this is the Circle of Love.”

And the story continues…

As I was driving home from the volunteer weekend I had a sudden memory of a small gift that my father gave to me during his last visit to California.   It was a small pocket knife/toolkit with his business name engraved on it (JJ Downey Heating & AC).  I wondered if the pocket knife was also a keychain.  I could not remember if it had a key ring.  As soon as I got home I rushed upstairs to see if it was a keychain.  I opened my nightstand drawer and there it was…a keychain.

The Circle of Love.  Give Love.  Receive Love.  Give Love.  Receive Love.  Loving connection is most powerful, joyful, infinite, and peaceful part of our earthly existence.

“Love is the master key which opens the gates of happiness.”  Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)

“This is the ultimate end of man, to find the One which is in him; which is his truth, which is his soul; the key with which he opens the gate of the spiritual life, the heavenly kingdom.” Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”  Bible

In loving memory of, and in infinite gratitude to, John Joseph Downey.   Thank you for helping me to open the keys to my heart and my loving.  I feel blessed to be a part of your unconditional and timeless Circle of Love.

photo credit: angelsk

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