I see my mother everywhere. Though I never looked like her, I can now see a physical resemblance and so many of my qualities remind me of her. Not so for my dad. Everyone said I looked like him, but I no longer can see the resemblance. I never had the good fortune to get to know him, and he wasn’t part of my life long enough for me to emulate him in any way.

My father died when I was eleven, and he spent the last year of his life in the hospital. While his death was devastating, my mother dedicated herself to raising four independent children in a family-focused environment. She was an optimist, always telling us, “Something good comes out of everything.” Under her tutelage, I’ve spent my life looking for that silver lining.

So what lessons did I learn from my dad?

* Life is short so I’ve learned to cram as much living as I can into each and every day.

* Make good health a priority; if you don’t have your health, nothing else matters.

* Let everyone you love know how much you love them every single day. Don’t ever assume that people know how you feel.

* There’s no time like the present; don’t put off what you can do today.

* If you want something, whether it’s a relationship, a job, an education, or a trip, go for it now.

* Live your life with zest and fill your days with new people and new experiences.

* Don’t wait for the celebrations or achievements; find your happiness in the everyday moments in life, whether it’s that first cup of coffee, a walk with a friend, or the wonderful smells of dinner cooking.

When I think of my dad and the legacy he left me, I feel good. His life and death gave me the blueprint to live a happy and fulfilling life.

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Robbie Kaplan

Robbie Miller Kaplan is a writer and trainer with an expertise in communications. She is the author of nine books, including How to Say It® When You Don't Know What to Say and How to Say It® In Your Job Search. In 1981, Robbie gave birth to two children; a son Aaron in January and a daughter Amy in December. Both babies died in infancy from the same congenital heart defect. It is her experiences with loss as well as a passion to make a difference with others grieving a loss that motivated her to write How to Say It® When You Don't Know What to Say. Her goal is to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about face difficult times. It is now available in individual volumes for Illness & Death, Suicide, and Miscarriage. Ms. Kaplan is a frequent guest with media outlets ranging from the CBS Early Show to the Washington Post. She has been quoted and recommended by syndicated columnists Amy Dickinson in her ASK AMY column and Joyce Lain Kennedy in her CAREERS NOW column. Her advice and books have appeared in national and regional publications, including: The New York Times, The Washington Post, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Detroit Free Press, New Jersey Star Ledger, Dallas Morning News, Charlotte Observer, The State, The Indianapolis Star, LA Times, New York Daily News and web sites such as jobsinthemoney.com, abcNEWS.com, efinancialcareers.com, AuditNet.org, and USATodayCareers.com. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from George Mason University and is MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) and Strong (Strong Interest Inventory) qualified. She has a management background with Xerox Corporation and Marriott International. Ms. Kaplan writes a monthly column for AuditNet.org and wrote an "Ask the Expert" column for jobsinthemoney.com and efinancialcareers.com. She is a contributing author to the Strong Interest Inventory Applications and Technical Guide and has been published in PM Network, Careerjournal.com, washingtonpost.com, the magazine, Woman's Day, Writer's Digest, The Executive Female, Internal Auditing Alert, Science and Engineering Horizons, and The Woman Engineer. Ms. Kaplan is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. To Listen to Robbie's Radio show

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