He taught me first how to color.

"Stay inside the lines," he said. "Go slow if you need to. A mouse is not purple, unless, of course, you want it to be purple. But you really should use brown or gray."

He taught me then to ride a bike.

"Keep it steady. I'll hold on to the back. I won't let go, I promise. Look, you're doing it all by yourself."

He taught me how to play the guitar, how to read music, how to draw a face in detail, how to find my way home in the dark.
Then we moved on to more complicated things.

He taught me how to laugh.

"Don't worry about sounding goofy, just let it move through you. It's fun, and it burns calories!"

He taught me how to cry.

"Let it out. It's okay to cry. Trust me, even I do it."

He taught me how to love.

"If you feel it in your heart, don't be afraid to show it. You never know if you'll get another chance to love someone."

He taught me how to be proud.

"Pride is a funny thing. Don't have too much of it, but keep your head up high."

But the last thing he taught me was hardest of all to learn.
He put me in a class with my sisters and mother, and he taught us to let go.

"You know I'm going to go soon...so I want you to know that I love you and that I'm proud of you all. You've made me so happy in my life, made me laugh, made me cry, made me feel alive. Dying is a funny thing, letting go is a funny thing. But I'm going to do the first, and you four do the latter. It's easy-- just remember the good things and smile when you think of me."

My father has taught me many great things, but his last lesson was the best. When the time comes, my sisters and I will teach our children all the same lessons, all the great things he has taught us.

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