When My Father Died, These 7 Words Made Me Understand His Life

The tragedy weighs me down but his memory lifts me up.

I sometimes think of people as light beams. Some are dim, some are blinding, some shoot across your line of vision too swiftly to even notice, and some shine so brilliantly that they can illuminate your entire world.  

That was my dad.  He was my best friend, my favorite person and my source of light.

A little more than three years ago he died in a car accident on his way home from giving a speech about his most recent book. It was called "The Magic Room: a story about the love we wish for our daughters," dedicated to my sisters and me.  

It was like an emotional power outage. Three years later it's as if there are still a few lights that never came back on, casting dark shadows on some of the most critical spaces as I move through what's left of my world.   

I wear this tragedy on my mind and on my heart. It absolutely weighs me down. It looms over me and every single day I can find a new reason why it's sad. 

When any senseless tragedy strikes, it's easy to wonder what the heck is even sacred anymore. Personally, I didn't know what I could depend on if my very favorite person in the world wasn't even a guarantee. It was an injustice that I didn't think I could ever get over. 

But then I found a glimmer of happiness:  

I didn't have to get over it. I had to find a way to resolve it. 

OK, I'm not some crazy medium with magical powers who can bring the deceased back to life. I'm not Beyoncé. But I do believe that there's something I can do. 

There's a beautiful saying in the Jewish tradition. It's a turn of phrase that continues to move me to tears every time I hear it. It puts death, and part of the meaning of life, into perspective for me. 

May his memory be for a blessing. 

As morbid as it sounds, I think that's what we all ultimately wish for our loved ones and ourselves. Because, one day, we will all become memories, and isn't that really the best-case scenario? 

In the days following my father's death I made a promise to myself: every good thing I do, for the rest of my life, will be dedicated to him. To keep my father alive in the only way modern science has been able to substantiate: through his legacy. 

Of course this tragedy has weighed me down, but I can't deny the fact that his memory continues to lift me up. It's the beacon of light radiating down from the sky reminding me of all of the wonderful moments that are mine forever in the archives of my own mind. 

It won't bring my dad back to life — but it will certainly give me inspiration to do a whole lot of good things in his honor. 

*This essay was originally featured as part of the "Weighed Down" series on Breaktheweight.com.