"Oh, I feel it coming back again,
Like a roll of thunder, chasing the wind. . ." - Live

We've gathered for a rememberance celebration today. Andy doesn't do funerals. I have come back here in my Mommy's room to get away for a minute.

When all this started, twenty-eight years ago, he was just, "That Man who married my mother." Somewhere along the way, between the throes of teen angst and the realization that my mother and father would never get back together and finally having kids of my own, he became my Dad.

And now that he is gone, I can't hug him, can't call him. He always answered the phone, "Yes, baby!" - so glad to hear from me, ready to help me sort out my inane crisis of the moment. Helping me with his practical advice as I struggled to be a better wife, a better daughter, a better mother, a better person. . .

"What's it gonna matter in six months?"

"A taught lesson is better than a bought lesson."

"Just let it roll off your back."

"It's just window dressing."

But you know, THAT MAN who married my mother is a part of me - I have the privelege of having two Dads who I love very much, and who love me very much. Neither is a replacement for the other, but both are a part of who I am.

Yeah, his physical presence is gone. And that is awful beyond words. But he'll always be with me, reminding me to be patient with my kids, reminding me to put my husband first, and reminding me that we all have an amazing capacity for love - whether we're relatives by blood or by choice.

My sister just found me hiding out in here. . .great minds think alike. She's feeling so many of the same things I am. I'm her big sister and I can't make this one better.

But he's been training us since he met us for today, for the day he wouldn't be here. Teaching us to laugh and enjoy and live right now. The best tribute that we can offer to him is to be half as good a parent to our own children that he has been to us, whether we were his blood or not. And in the end, when we run into each other again somewhere beyond the stars, I hope I can hug him again and he'll whisper in my ear,

"You did good, Lollipop."

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