Naikan Reflection on a Father

In this Naikan reflection, a 57 year old businesswoman performed Naikan on her father, reflecting on the last 2 years of his life.

What did I receive from my father?

  1. When my mother died, my father called 911, accompanied the paramedics to the hospital, called me (on the other coast) with the news that my mother had died, selected a funeral home, arranged and paid for her funeral and prepaid for his.
  2. While I was on the East Coast for six weeks following my mother’s death, he provided me with a room to sleep in, closet and drawer space.
  3. He gave me whatever I wanted of my mother’s personal effects and from the kitchen, including a set of monogramed glasses, a cuisinart, assorted serving dishes and a rotisserie.
  4. He gave me photo albums and memorabilia.
  5. He was expeditious about packing up her belongings and giving them away to charity.
  6. He paid to have the things I wanted packed and shipped to me on the West Coast.
  7. When he decided to remarry he gave me a choice of dates for the wedding and selected the date most convenient for me.
  8. When I visited him before and after he remarried he took me out to dinner at two expensive restaurants.
  9. He paid for my flight to the East Coast to attend his wedding.
  10. He paid for some clothing I bought while visiting him.
  11. He has always been a role model for doing what needs to be done. He continued to do what needed to be done following my mother’s death, such as notifying the social security office, the bank, having her name removed from important documents, and responding to sympathy cards immediately.
  12. He arranged for extra phone lines to be put in his condo so that I could work while I was there.
  13. He went with me to buy a fax machine and learned how to use it so that we could fax each other after I returned home.
  14. He picked me up at the airport when I arrived the day following my mother’s death and arranged for a ride to the airport for me the day I went home.
  15. I received half of his investment portfolio, which increases financial security and decreases worries about money.
  16. I was able to use some of the money in my father’s portfolio for education and to give as gifts.
  17. My father prepared financially for his retirement years and invested conservatively so that he was always self-supporting. He was frugal and had investments at the time of his death.
  18. He told me he loved me.

What did I give to my father?

  1. I caught a red-eye so that I could arrive the morning following my mother’s death.
  2. I insisted he see a doctor that afternoon when he told me he thought he had a hernia.
  3. His hernia operation could not be scheduled until more than a month later. I stayed on the East Coast with him until a week following his surgery.
  4. I helped him go through my mother’s things, pack them up and deliver them to a suitable charity.
  5. I shopped and cooked for him and carried groceries and did what else I could to prevent him from lifting.
  6. I drove him to and from several doctor’s appointments.
  7. I declined to take certain possessions, such as my mother’s collectibles, without which his living room would look bare and unattractive.
  8. I stayed at the hospital during his surgery and drove him home after.
  9. When he remarried I always spoke well of his wife and treated her as a friend and confidant.
  10. As a wedding present, I had their wedding certificate beautifully framed.
  11. When my father became seriously ill after his marriage, I went back to the East Coast for an extended period, about six weeks.
  12. When the hospital that he was in released him because it was not equipped to handle his problem, I arranged for another doctor to admit him to a second hospital the same day.
  13. I visited him in the hospital daily and drove his wife there, about an hour trip one way.
  14. I conferred daily with his doctors. One day when he wasn’t getting the attention he needed I yelled at the staff to get them to act.
  15. I reassured him that his wife and I were getting along well.
  16. I told him I loved him.
  17. He was pleased that I was successful at my job.
  18. I drove his wife on errands when he was in the hospital and provided her with companionship and support, which relieved his worries about her.
  19. After he remarried, I signed a quit-claim deed to my parents’ condo.

What troubles did I cause my father?

  1. I was not with him when my mother died, causing him to be alone in the car with her, driving her home from the doctor’s.
  2. I caused him expense for my food while I stayed with him after her death.
  3. I occupied space in his den and his dining room, where I set up my work area.
  4. I went home before he had fully recovered from his hernia operation. I insisted that he have a home health care worker come for the day for the next week, until he was allowed to drive again, and this cost him money and privacy.
  5. I had one telephone conversation with him urging him not to marry again but instead to live with the woman he wanted to marry.
  6. had an accident which left me unable to walk, except on crutches for three months. During this time I became depressed and conveyed to him that I was concerned about being able to work while being so depressed. Once on the phone I asked him questions about his estate, which most likely made him feel like I was counting on him for financial support.
  7. I forgot his wife’s birthday and their anniversary.
  8. When he was ill after he had remarried, I only visited him once a day in the hospital. Had I gone to the expense to take a hotel room closer to the hospital and rent a car, I would have been able to go more often and stay longer with each visit.
  9. I refused to “pull the plug” as he requested.
  10. I refused to insist to his wife that he not be put into a nursing home and did not offer to move nearby so that I could take over his home care -- even though this would have been just as unacceptable as a nursing home to him.
  11. I left the East Coast for a business trip, after which I returned home instead of heading directly back to see him.
  12. My father died three weeks before my next scheduled visit, while still in the hospital. I was not with him when he died.

More about Naikan...

  1. What is Naikan?
  2. The Importance of Self-reflection
  3. How to Practice Naikan Reflection
  4. Examples of Naikan Reflection