A dear friend lost her dad earlier this week. She loved her dad as much as any daughter could.

He was much more than a dad to her, though. He was a teller of wonderful stories, a teacher about life, responsibility and commitment. The importance of lifetime friends was obvious; many days were passed talking to old friends and maybe even sharing a meal or two with them.

He was a veteran, a patriot and a Republican. The flag was precious to him as it should be to everyone who loves America. Through his many travels and assignments all over the world he instilled a love of learning and experiencing new things to his family and with his first-born, that love of learning and loving life continued and is subsequently being passed on to his South Carolina-born grandchildren and great-grandchildren. For many of us who never had the honor of meeting him, we felt like we knew him through the stories that his daughter would share with us. My favorite stories involved their living in Ecuador, perhaps because I have visited there or perhaps because the stories were so intriguing.

A detail-oriented man, he kept receipts that were long past the need to keep them. Nails and screws had a special place but that place might be organized in a way that only he would understand. Realizing the importance of not invading his space or “taking over” the task of sorting through whatever would cross her path on her many visits to her parent’s home, she would simply place things where he could see them and know that they had not been thrown away and maybe at a later time, she and he would go through those things together. I would imagine that many of those things had a wonderful story behind them.

He was very proud of his daughter, the nurse. He looked to her for guidance but often was hesitant to ask for fear of disrupting her day or being too much trouble. The bond between the two of them was very strong, however, and she seemed to have a sixth sense about him. Gut instinct, intuition, a daughter’s love; call it what you will, the bond was undeniable. The love and admiration was obvious anytime she mentioned her dad.

Grateful that she was able to have had a good visit with her dad just recently, as a friend, I rejoice that her precious memories of her last trip to Georgia will remain strong in her heart. As a friend, I am a bit envious that she had so many wonderful years with her dad. My dad died when I was 14; I am now 63.

With the holidays fast approaching, this will be a new normal for many of us. Remembering those special times, those wonderful memories and the life lessons that have been taught by your dad will help to carry you through the coming days. Friends will love you, hug you, laugh with you and cry with you. They will also respect your need to “just be”, when no words or actions are necessary or even wanted.

I didn’t know your dad except through you. I would have loved to have met him because I have no doubt that he would have been as remarkable as he had been described by you.  In a way, though, I have met him and I do know him. You have so many of the characteristics that you used to describe your dad. I know that the apple  didn’t fall too far from that tree and I believe that the apple of his eye was his precious daughter, Donna.

His heart is indeed at rest and you can rest easy knowing that you were a loving, attentive daughter for as long as he needed you. As proud as you were of him, I know that his pride and love for you was unmatched.