Five years ago today, we were sitting around Dad’s bed. We had been there for days, a large group of us- sometimes as many as 20 people but never fewer than six- continually surrounding Dad with love and witnessing his final battle. I will never dishonor his fight by referring to him as having lost. Dad fought for his life, the strongest and most determined fight I have ever seen, and he won peace. And as these five years have gone by (it’s been forever and it’s been no time at all), I have learned that he is still and always here with us.

He is here in all the jokes he made, which we repeat to this day.

He is here in the pennies we find and the songs that play at just the right moment.

His love for my mother pervades every room in their house.

Gabby has his silly sense of humor and his comic timing.

Addie J has a huge heart, just like her papa.

And as well as being his physical clone, Cameron also inherited Dad’s interest in cars, and his knack for relating to people, and his easy strength.

Not a single day has gone by that we haven’t talked about Dad, repeated one of his jokes, imagined how he would respond to something. He is still here in so many ways. And when I think of him now, it’s not as he was in the last few months of his life, when he was engaged in that final battle. Rather, he is once again strong and healthy. When I imagine him now, he is working on his race car (with just the right parts and all the right tools). Or he is having a beer with his brother and his uncles, and they’re all laughing and happy. Or sometimes I see just him, standing in the sun with that much-loved smile on his face.

I miss him so much, and I am so lucky to be his daughter.


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