Today I’ve lived just as long without my dad as the amount of time I lived with him. 17 years ago he lost his battle with Cancer. I was 17. It’s so crazy for me to think that my siblings all passed this milestone years ago. As the first born I had extra time with him and I’ll always be so grateful for that. It took me a long time to process my grief, years before I could openly talk about him. Now I like to remember things he said and did that shaped my character and impacted who I am today. He believed wholeheartedly in loving other people well. He didn’t ever meet a stranger and was up for an adventure at a moments notice. One of his favorite things to say (and act upon) was “Give me a plane ticket and then tell me where I’m going.” Even in the last months of his life he spent time in Honduras and China, tying up lose ends in some of the medical clinics and schools he had spent years building. We never knew he was in pain or that the chemo was as brutal as it must have been because he didn’t ever complain. He remained positive, hopeful and grateful through it all. He traveled to conferences and spoke about what it was like to be a young physician with a terminal illness. He wanted to encourage other people up until his last day on earth, and that’s exactly what he did. I remember he’d often say, “Liza, you alone are responsible for your attitude so make it a good one.” He expected us to always do our best, to always show compassion for others and to never give up. What I’ve learned over the last 17 years is that time is a currency you will never get back. It’s precious and how you spend it matters. When you love someone, say it. Take risks. Strive to always leave the people you care about feeling good about themselves. I’m in no way a master of these things but I’m learning. I’m striving. I’m using my dad as an example for the life I want to live. On his tombstone it says, “so much in so little time.” His life was cut short but he left a strong legacy behind and I’m just so glad I got to be his daughter.