I could hear respect in his voice and it hit home. I felt that I no longer had to prove myself, and a weight lifted from me. Perhaps as his body became more vulnerable, his desire to control loosened.

Maybe his shield of invulnerability simply weakened, and he realised that he was only human and needed to love and be loved.

About three months into his hospice care, I went to visit him on a dreary December day with rain pouring outside. I took a seat by his side and held his hand. I cried some, as it was clear his end was near.

My father gently lifted my hand to his lips and tenderly kissed it. Then he looked at me, and there was a light shining through his eyes and emanating from him. “You look beautiful,” my father said to me as I sat there with swollen red eyes.

My father’s face was so peaceful and full of naked and undisguised love, and then I got it: my father had always loved me fully but had been unable to show it, choosing to hide it deep within himself.

Now, with both his and my own efforts, he dropped all the veils and gave me the most precious gift in the world. That brief moment of his full love was so powerful that it seemed to make up for years of going without it.

Three days later, my father died in his sleep at home, his heart open. Together, we worked

until the very end to reshape and edit our father-daughter story, and we managed to give it a happy ending. —Beliefnet.com (Concluded)