Since dad died, I've learned that even when a person we love dies, the love between us doesn't die. I still feel the force of his love for all of us even though he isn't here with us now. I often think of things he shared with me, and am still guided by his wisdom.
Shortly before he died, Dad gave me a photograph of himself, and on the back he'd signed it, finishing with his signature. “Loving you always,” he wrote, and I think about the “always” part of that a lot. Love doesn't die, even if our experience of it changes.
One of those little father-daughter games we used to play involved the telephone. When we'd finished our conversation he'd say “Goodbye” but then he wouldn't hang up. I'd say “Dad, you haven't hung up yet,” and he'd laugh and say goodbye again. We'd continue on a few moments longer, laughing, then usually I'd hang up, still laughing.
I wish we could have just one more of those conversations . . .
The promise of heaven has become more real for me, too. It's not that I ever didn't value that promise; I just had no real need of it. I'd lost my grandparents to death, but they didn't live in my everyday life like dad did. Once he died, though, the promise of seeing him again became very precious to me, and made me think about what a precious promise that is.
I've also become more conscious of thanking God for the privilege of knowing and loving people, for the blessings they bring to my life and to the world around us. I often praise and thank God for my dad and for the way he parented me and my brothers and sister. I don't remember thinking to do that before he died.
Do we ever fully appreciate the people we love? Probably not. I still miss him so.