My childhood is a series of feelings more than specific events. Papa was a warm, energetic and silly father. Being lifted into the air and spun around incorporated all of these elements – the laughter of a dad and daughter filling a big, echoing room.
There was never any doubt that Papa loved us. Every decision he made had us at its heart. Our family endured a period of strife that ultimately sundered my parent's relationship. Papa's focus remained on us, giving everything he could to ensure we were safe and cared for.
When we were in early high school, the legacy of laughter returned. Papa watched our favourite Japanese animation shows with us, helping to create humorous renditions of the characters and circumstances. His wacky hilarity was amplified by the utter joy I witnessed in those exchanges. It felt like a return to simpler times.
We grew into women and moved on to adult lives – gaining partners with whom we could share goals and love. Everyone talks about how nerve-wracking it is for boyfriends to meet their girlfriends' fathers. I can assure you that, at least in my case, it was just as anxiety-inducing for me.
Fortunately, Joe and Papa got on beautifully – sharing many in-depth conversations on a range of topics. Both thrived in these discussions and there are no words to describe how happy I was seeing them enjoying each others' company.
These and so many other moments will live inside me – keeping Papa's fierce intelligence, passionate nature, and well of love alive. He was a man who saw connection in all things and I know that his depth is integral to my own. His enthusiasm for reading inspired mine, a gift that can never be repaid – only passed forward.
We are born into a world that is much bigger than ourselves, one that is both enormously frightening and staggeringly beautiful. Although we walk the path of our individual lives alone, we are surrounded by the love of those who came before and those currently with us. We are part of a continually expanding web of consciousness in a reality where energy is neither created nor destroyed. Where the spirits of all living beings share our struggles and joys. We need only look beyond ourselves to Witness them.