When she was confronted with the thought of losing someone so dear to her, Hilary Swank saw her entire life change. Being there for her ill and aging father showed her what really matters in life. And she made a very important vow for herself and her loved ones.
“I have been helping my dad who was recovering from a lung transplant so we’ve been together in Los Angeles and I took some time off with him,” she said, according to Independent.
After her father underwent a lung transplant, the actress nursed him back to health, and she admits that it’s the one thing in her life that has irreversibly changed her. “Caregiving changed me for real and forever,” the two-time Oscar-winner told AARP. “What I used to stress about was silly and inconsequential. All I’d done since I was 15 was act. Taking that away gave me space to recognize I’m so much more than this thing I define myself as.”
Even though it was a scary time in her life, the experience of caring for her father not only changed her but also made her priorities fall into place.
“I drove him to hospital appointments; he’d have breakfast — that was my workout time — we’d have lunch; I’d make his dinner,” she recalled. “There were a lot of scares, but this was our life.”
What terrified her most was making decisions and not knowing what the outcome might be. She told USA Today, “There were moments when I was taking care of my dad where you’re not confident, when you know that in helping make a decision, (it) could be good or bad – and that was something you were going to have to live with, no matter which way it went. So it was scary.”
At the other end of her father’s recovery, she vowed to herself to make time for the things and the people that truly matter to her. “I made a vow to myself a couple of years ago to spend more time with my family and my loved ones. None of us knows how long we have on this planet so it’s important to never take a moment for granted,” Hilary Swank said.
She also added, “Now whenever I’m thinking about somebody that I love, I pick up the phone or I immediately text them and say: ‘I want you to know that I’m thinking about you’. Instead of letting time go by. That’s become a really important thing to me. Time flies and the next thing you know, you haven’t talked to someone that you love for a long time. I think most women have a nurturing capacity that wants to take care of other people and usually take care of other people to a fault.”
What also changed her is the thought of life ticking away and never knowing when the hands might stop turning. That’s why she’s stopped taking life for granted.
“None of us know what’s going to happen from one moment to the next and I think that’s one of the things we have to be able to do, to never take a moment for granted. Today, I’m living my bucket list,” the actress went on to say. “Life is short and we have to make the most of it every day. If you were told you had a year to live how much different would you live your life than maybe some of the things we take for granted or we worry about? They’re so absurd in the overall scheme of things.”
With her father living out his 70s in much better shape, she’s back to filming and said, “I’m blessed because prayers were answered and my dad came out the other side a completely independent person again.”