Today would have been my Dad's 69th birthday. I still miss him like crazy every day. But I miss him not with sadness anymore; rather, with the warm glow of gratitude for my wild good fortune in having had him for a father in the first place. It has taken two years and a ton of drama and attitude-adjusting events in my own life to get here. But here I am, and here I happily reside. I still wish he could see Bambina as she blames her stuffed sheep Stephan for her farts. I wish he could see her ride her little golf cart. I wish he could see her growing up, although I'm sure he'd still call her "wee tykie" till she was 40, driving her as crazy as he drove me by calling me Lamb Chop at my college graduation.
So how do you get to this place where you're not sad, but rather just so damn glad you had the life you had with someone who is now physically gone? Time. And some helpful thoughts:
To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go. ---Mary Oliver
And, from Elbert Hubbard, but could have just as easily come from my Dad himself:
Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.