“Writing is a way to let the inside world out.” — Paul Young, author of New York Times bestseller “The Shack”

I have to get this out or my heart will explode:

A Facebook notification reminded me that seven years ago, my dad celebrated 10 years of being an organ transplant recipient.

A recent notification popped up on Facebook, noting that my dad celebrated 10 years of being a kidney transplant recipient.

That was 2011. He received another kidney transplant before he died in 2016. Those surgeries allowed him to meet my kids and dogs, meet his sons- and daughter-in-law. He did a lot of work for others through his church.

If you ever wanted to see how beneficial organ transplants are, my dad was a good example.

This week marks the second anniversary of his death. Seeing reminders like that notification from Facebook make it hard sometimes.

Having my two oldest kids ask about something mechanical or athletic, gazing at me with their hazel eyes, reminds me of him. I inherited those eyes from him and passed the trait on.

When I face a difficult day as a parent, I remember when he told me to sit on his knee. I was 30 and had given birth to my first child a week or so beforehand. My husband was nine hours away at a new job a few states away. I don’t remember what caused me to cry, but my dad had me sit in his lap while I balled my eyes out for a while. It was odd, but it felt natural. It was a hug that I can still feel sometimes when I close my eyes.

There are lots of times when I’ll absentmindedly say something that implies both my parents are living.

I forget how he smelled. I remember his handkerchiefs that later where replaced with bandannas. But I don’t remember which pocket he always placed them in.

Nowadays, I see my kids and I don’t see him in them as much as I used to. I see three totally unique kids who are my minions.

When I run, I think of the eagles that live near my route and hope dad is watching them fly. They were his favorite.

I hope he still sees the potential in me that he saw when I was a teenager.

I miss you so much. It’s hard to believe it’s been two years. Some days, it seems like more. Sometimes, a lot less.

Some veteran friends of mine who have served overseas say the best way to honor the dead is to live — do something with your life that would make that person happy.

I don’t always do that, but I am trying. Doing what I love — adventuring, writing, being a parent — and taking responsibility for the stuff I know he would want me to deal with, but dread doing.

I love you dad.