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We’re celebrating you today, Dad. It’s your 77th birthday. This is the second time we’ve celebrated your birthday without you physically here with us. Daddy, it still hurts so bad. I’ve lost so much since you’ve been gone. I wish we could talk about it. I wish I could hold your hand. Sometimes I wonder if the ache of not having you here will ever go away. But deep inside, I know the ache won’t ever go away, because while I’ve lost so much, I have also found so much.
I keep finding my name in your Bibles and your devotionals. I’ve found your notes scribbled in the margins, which led me to answers I desperately needed in those exact moments. There’s no other way to explain it, Dad.
Your love remains.
Saudade is a Portuguese word that is so rich with meaning, it has no English equivalent translation. Wiki describes it as “A deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for someone that one loves. Saudade is “the love that remains” after someone is gone. Saudade is the recollection of feelings and experiences . . . which now trigger the senses and make one live again. It’s an emptiness, like someone or something that should be there in a particular moment is missing, and the individual feels this absence. It is both sad and happy, at the same time. The sadness for missing, and happiness for having experienced the feeling.”
“The love that remains” or “The love that stays”.
I feel this so deeply. This foreign feeling of the deepest loss and sadness mixed with the deepest gratitude for the man you were, the choices you made, and ultimately the way your life and love shaped me, has shaped all of us . . . it doesn’t fit just one English word.
It doesn’t fit because your love stayed.
Your life was an extension of God’s love to our family and countless others. In turn, we will honor you today, on your 77th birthday, by giving and receiving love. We will practice gratitude and openly share all that we’re grateful for. We will continue to scribble names in the margins of our Bibles of those for whom we pray. We will remain steadfast in our faith that makes us sure of the things we hope for and certain of the things we cannot see. Just like you shared at our weddings from 1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Daddy your love, the greatest part of you, remains.
Tonight we will gather by the monument we placed as a physical memorial to the life of legacy you so beautifully lived. It’s a vivid, physical reminder for all to see, the evidence of the love that remains after a life so well invested. We’ll sing Happy Birthday and eat chocolate cake, next to the words we etched on your stone from the sign you left on the kneeling bench where you earnestly prayed for each of us daily: “Prayers outlive the lives of those who utter them.”
You were right Dad; your prayers (your greatest act of love) have outlived you.
Happy 77th Birthday to you.
Your love remains.
to even more love,