I recently lost my beloved dad at the age of 90. I always knew this day would come, and always dreaded the idea of it. Somehow, as an adult, I thought that the death of my parents would not hit me as hard as it would if I were a young child. When I lost my mom two years ago, I was shaken to the core, even though she had been ill for quite a while. After her death, my dad’s needs fell into my hands, and I was only too glad to help him. I would take him to his doctor appointments and afterward, knowing how much he loved it, would stop at the drive through of either Burger King or McDonald’s and treat him to his favorite take-out to eat on his arrival back at home. I also would make sure he was stocked with his favorite wine for his daily 4:00 “happy hours”. I won’t go into too much detail anymore about all the things that I got to share with my father in the last two years since my mother’s death, but having had that time with him and the memories that are left, helps fill the emptiness which I now feel since losing him. From as early as I can remember, music and laughter filled my house. My father had a beautiful tenor voice and was active in community theater. He performed in practically every revival of every Broadway show there was. He also was usually in the lead role. He not only sang, but also danced like Fred Astaire. To top that off, his sense of humor was known to all. There was not a topic that he didn’t have a one-liner for. My mother was an artist, and between the two of them, my upbringing was full of culture. My dad taught himself the violin and the piano, and would sit and play every free moment he got. After I finished taking piano lessons, it fell upon me to accompany him while he sang. It became a delightful ritual. When my parents had their weekly parties, I looked forward to sitting at the piano, while he belted out one song after another to the applause of their guests. This was one side of my dad: Here is the other: Every evening after he returned home from work, he and I would take a walk together to the local department store. He used to joke that he was leaving his wallet home. It never happened. Inevitably, I would talk him into buying me the little something I wanted at the time. He never could say no to me. During those walks, he always told me how special I was. “Always believe that”, he would say. “Don’t let anyone ever try to take advantage of you”, and, “remember, they don’t buy the cow when they can get the milk for free”. I always laughed at these remarks, not realizing that my worth was being shaped by the very fact that I had a father that took the time to instill these ideas in me. When I became an adolescent and hated everything about myself, it was my dad who sat with me and told me that I was beautiful and talented. What a gift that was! I might not have always believed him, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I had the deep rooted security of knowing how much I was loved by both my parents. I believe that a father and a daughter have a special bond that has the power to shape a daughter’s future relationships. If she doesn’t have a father that makes her feel special, she may let herself be abused or look for someone to fill that need that she never got from her father. I was so lucky to have had that positive relationship. In the last years of my dad’s life, he lost the ability to hear music, couldn’t play the piano anymore, and basically was a shell of what he used to be. My heart would break for him. In being able to help him the way I did, I can only hope that I was able to give back to him the support and nurturing that he gave to me my whole life. At his funeral, my brother played a recording of my dad singing a song that he recorded in the early 1950′s. At the end, everyone at the funeral applauded. It was a final performance that would have made my father so proud! The curtain is down, but my memories of all our special moments will never, ever die!