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Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday. She chose grandma’s as her birthday dinner location. Two weeks ago our son did the same. Not a restaurant. Grandma’s. In the car on the way home from school she was chattering about going to grandma’s and suddenly grew quiet. When I pried from her what was the matter, she said she misses grandpa. I choked out, me, too, every day, and we had a cry. Our son cried on his day, too, as we gathered in grandpa’s place without grandpa. As I watched her little face in the rear view mirror I was filled with the sense that this is a measure of a man: how deeply his absence is felt by his family on those days we mark together. My dad was a quiet man not given to big displays of affection, but each of us knew how much he loved us from the little rituals: the greeting to the silly goose, the gentle tease, the big grins and big hugs at the door.
May we all be missed as much as my family misses my father, not to bring pain but to witness the love that holds his place.

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