Dad,

You created who I am today. Your stoic self was there for anyone who needed you. Your smile touched the hearts of others. Your humor was dry and brought laughter.

I can hear your voice right now, saying “The old man had to die and cause all this.” You had compassion and love, which you would have denied as well. I admired you.

I remember always loving your smell. It was a musky old spice in the morning, mixed with cigarette ash and whisky at night. When we hugged, I felt the scruff of your 5 o’clock shadow rub up against my face. I loved it. I loved you. So much did I love you.

I missed you each time we were apart. Though not often enough did we see each other, when we did, there was no holding back. I’m going to miss not kissing you on the cheek.

As a boy, I would go up the stairs to go to sleep, and you’d be sitting on the couch. We would say “see you tomorrow”, which meant, “I love you more than you could ever know, and thank you for being here with me.” I felt protected when I was with you.

As we grew older, we became closer and closer. Life is sometimes too short.

When Dylan passed, I could feel our emotion rushing into each other as we let the tears drop from our eyes. I said “feel however you feel, embrace it.” Although it hurt, I was never more alive than in that moment with you.

I will take the lessons you’ve taught me. Not through your words, but through your actions. To be there for the ones I love, no questions asked. To be the support, and the rock that you were. To give love away in the fullest form.

I know you are in this audience here right now, encouraging me to have the strength to get up here and speak. Spreading the message that life is a celebration; one that moves swift and without notice. So, to notice the little things, appreciate what you have, and never stop dreaming. You believed in me.

Enjoy the journey your are embarking on in Heaven. Let peace find your soul and love move your spirit. How lucky are we to have experienced your best self, at one point in our lives. How lucky am I to carry you with me everywhere I go.

I absolutely love you dad, in the fullest form.

Your son,

Bano