Even after he’s gone, you can choose which memories you focus on and how you understand them. You can put some effort in to sense what it was like to walk in his shoes. You can widen and deepen your empathy. You can learn about him. You can reread his biography. You can reread his emails to you. You can watch some of his videos. You can talk about him.
When I choose one angle on my dad, he’s a hero. He is courage personified. He’s a man who never strayed from his pursuit of the truth.
With a little effort, even though I’ve lived my life differently than what my dad wanted (I saw his life as a warning to me and I didn’t want to end up like him), I can think of ways the two of us were terrifically alike. In developing empathy for my father, I develop empathy for myself. Given who we were at various stages of our lives, we could not have acted differently. Our capacity for free will may not be as large as we imagined. To understand all is to forgive all.