I'm pretty sure there's no one, universal answer for this question just as there's no one, universal answer for any other question revolving around losses like this. You do what makes sense to you, what feels right, what helps you move forward. And in the process you learn to ignore those who seem to have no problem spontaneously disagreeing with your choices.
It's been an interesting journey since we lost him. I've learned at a profound level just how important it is to hold on to those who are most important to you. My understanding of the word "family" has undergone a fairly radical re-think since then. Whereas it was once very much tied to the family tree, it's evolved significantly in the years since.
I've learned to hold on ever tighter to my immediate family, my wife, our kids, the friends in our community who may as well be family. I've learned to gravitate toward the good souls, wherever they may be, who reflect our values, and I've learned to listen to that inner voice instead of the voices of others. I'd like to think that I've grown as a person, which is more or less what any parent wants for a child.
Maybe my own brush with fate changed the way I look at things. Maybe I simply wanted to make the best use of the limited time I've got - indeed, that we've all got - on this planet. For all the challenges he faced in the last few years of his life, my father was adept at finding the good in a moment, at enjoying something for what it was, and boiling it down to its most elemental form. It's a decent trait to carry forward, so that's what I've been trying to do.
Eighty years to the day since his journey began, and just over five years after it ended, I hope I've figured out how internalize and exemplify the best that was him. I'm guessing it's what he would have wanted, and I'm guessing it's what we always hope to teach our own children so that they, too, will grow something inspirational from the seeds we've been planting all along.
Looks like I had some pretty good seeds to start with. Thanks Dad.