Let me begin by saying, “I’m sorry.” Not just to those of you who are dedicated readers of this blog, but also to my friend and fellow writer on this site, Scott. He has bore the weight of solely maintaining Daddy Thoughts in my absence.

It was mid-September that my life was interrupted with unexpected changes. Late-September when my family went on a cruise for my Grandmother’s 80th birthday. She was left behind, hospitalized due to several severe blood clots in need of treatment. And now, late-October—the 26th to be exact—two weeks after she passed.

It has been six agonizing weeks filled with hope, caring, praying, triumphs, recoveries, relapses, and now loss. But amidst the surging and diminution of emotions, the increased tensions and then ebbing of enflamed nerves—one thing has managed to persevere: The love of my grandmother, Shirley Elizabeth Engilis.

It was her request that we all still go on the cruise to celebrate her life; Her request that we come together as a family, like years passed, spending the time with one another; And her request that we continue to come together and remember her love in the time that we spend with one another.

As loss does often wrought, I—as well as most of my family—have recently been forced to contemplate that which we all share in common: death. And although that is the single-most-finite thing that we all share, I do not believe it the end. Perhaps the end of a physical existence here on earth. But of one thing I am certain. I saw my grandmother on the day of her funeral.

Not the vessel which she occupied that now resides within her casket. I saw her in the six children that survived her. They stood together, arms around one another; Bodies pressed, interlocked as one. And in that moment, as they shared the grief—I saw them moved by her love.