Death has an uncanny way of bringing out the best in people. And, sadly, it also has a way of bringing out the worst. Fortunately, with my father, his goodness only shined through in his passing. He became the light that we all needed. In his last days, only love filled his heart. Only love was passed on to us. Only love presented itself in his last moments. His last hours. His last minutes. Love is what he left us with and love is what we hold close to our hearts.
I envisioned coming home this winter season as a terrible time for me, but it hasn't been as horrible as I imagined. I think I needed to go away and come home again to fully understand that he never left me. The physical remainders of him may lurk here, but in reality, the essence and being of him cannot be placed on what is left. He lives in my heart. He lives in all of us who loved him. And, that is such a beautiful thing.
He is never more than a thought away. Never more than a fleeting glimpse. Never more than the headlights on a truck or tractor. Never farther away than that silent touch on my shoulder.
Always as close as that smile that sometimes greets me in the mirror. Always as close as the laughter of my mother, my brothers, their children, and mine. Always in his quips that have now become ours.
Always near. Always ours. And always theirs. He never left and he never will. He will always live on.