SUNDAY, JUNE 12, 2011, 7:50 P.M.

A week to remember - dad

This week we look forward to Father's Day - next Sunday. The commercials are filled with images of gleeful children scurrying towards dad with Hallmark cards in hand. Many people do not have the dad of television commercials; some people may not even know their dad or have horrible memories of neglect or abuse.

 This Father's Day business can be complicated.

 My dad died six years ago this week. I had my airline tickets in hand and he died - 2000 miles away and three days - before we would travel. We viewed his body on Father's Day and I tucked my card into his casket. Words. We loved words. A few years before he died, he said, "I don't know who you would get to give a eulogy?" And then he looked into my eyes. I replied, "I can do that, Dad."

 As you look forward to Father's Day, recall the men who nurtured and loved you - dad or not - and take time to say your words.

 Here is the conclusion from that eulogy, my last gift to my dad.  . .

 "We do not know how to let go of Dad’s hand that has guided us forever.  But we do know this: Our dad loved well, he cared deeply for his family and friends; and he taught us what we need to know, to understand, to live the rest of our lives without him.

"We have photographs and stories, but mostly we have full hearts. He gave us many experiences, but the best thing he gave us was an exceptional love that transcends even death.

"So he leaves us with a legacy of witty humor and passion for life, a legacy of quiet confidence and compassion, a legacy of his steadfast love. We will hold fast to his legacy today and each day until the moment when we join him, when we can embrace him, and take his hand once again. "

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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.