My friend Daniel's father passed away earlier today. From across the ocean, his words appeared on my computer screen, so brief but heavy with pain, "Papa est mort il y a une heure." They remind me of my own when my father died, "Dad passed away peacefully tonight." There is nothing in life that can prepare you for the death of a parent. It's like losing a huge chunk of yourself, a loss that alters you irrevocably so that nothing is quite the same afterwards.
In Hamlet, as the ghost of his father takes leave of the Danish prince, his parting words are "Adieu. Remember me," to which Hamlet replies:
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past
That youth and observation copied there,
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmixed with baser matter. Yes, by heaven!
All we can do is remember.