“I’m going to buy a lot of orange juice today,” my dad used to joke. He had his own unique way of saying things. “Orange juice” meant we were in for a big shop, and a big treat. It often meant that Dad had gotten a new client, felt flush, and was pumped to buy us those fun, nonessential things we always wanted.

My dad loved to give.

As a child, I eagerly looked forward to going grocery shopping with him. It was one of our special father-daughter outings. As one of six children, you learn to take what you can get when it comes to private time with your parents. I loved watching him load up the entire cart, including the baby seat and bottom panel. I also delighted in getting him to buy me whatever I wanted, just because I could. “Dad,” I would chirp, designing charm in my voice, “I tried this cereal at my friend’s house, and it tasted so good. Can you buy me a box?”

As one of six children, you learn to take what you can get when it comes to private time with your parents“Sure,” he would say, with smiles in his eyes. “If it tastes so good, pick up a few more boxes for the brothers and sisters.”

As I got older and the family got bigger, and hungrier, we would often fill up two carts in one run. Once he bought 40 boxes of granola bars when they were on sale, and the cashier asked if he was shopping for an orphanage. “Dad,” I asked, abashed and bewildered, “do we really need all this? Isn’t it expensive? What if we run out of money?”

“It is expensive,” he said, unbowed by the burden of it. “And that’s why I work so hard—so that I can buy all the orange juice the family needs.”

Sometimes when he filled the cart to maximum capacity, it took numerous trips for us to bring all the groceries into the house. I remember trying to hold too many bags at once, just like he did. He made it look so easy. I wanted to be strong and quick like him. But those orange juice cartons were heavy, and they weighed down on my wrists like a ball and chain.

In our loud, busy and bustling home, I never wondered if my father loved me. I knew he did. I knew that he deeply enjoyed spending time with me. And I genuinely enjoyed spending time with him, too. Whether we were talking as we pushed the cart down the aisles, or laughing as we drove home with a trunk full of groceries, we had a great time together. And as I got older, I regarded him as one of my best friends.

Family was what my dad lived for, and what he fought so hard to continue living for.

The call I long dreaded came when I was in Israel. After a 10-year duel with cancer, he phoned me from his hospital bed in Chicago to invite me home to see him . . . and to say goodbye.

“The doctors say I’m going to kick soon,” he announced, as though it were one of his frequent business trips. “And I think they’re right this time.”

Dad always tried to keep it, not light, but non-melodramatic. He avoided the “D” word as much as possible. But to me, the “K” word was just as painful.

With acidic tears in my eyes and a mountain of fear in my gut, I trembled my way onto the next available flight and prayed to G‑d that I wouldn’t be too late. I took my eight-month-old son with me, leaving my daughter and husband behind. The whole way there I thought about my dad, how much I loved him, and how badly I hoped he wouldn’t “kick.”

He savored life, and for him the greatest joy was making others happyI remembered how when we were kids, he used to take us to Toys “R” Us on his birthday, and let us choose whatever we wanted. And whenever he took us out to a restaurant, he would order almost everything on the menu, to make it a party. He savored life, and for him the greatest joy was making others happy.

Entering his hospital room, I squelched a gasp. He was almost unrecognizable. My big, strong Dad, who used to carry all those heavy bags, swim laps, bike for miles and practice taekwondo with me, was now frail on his hospital bed, injected with tubes and needles.

From behind his swollen cheeks, he smiled lovingly at me.

I bit my tongue.

He radiated peace, love and acceptance.

I was overwhelmed with tension, helplessness and sorrow. My brother Gabe was standing beside Dad; my sister Joey slumped in a chair beside his bed. Both were inconsolable. Dad tried to make us comfortable, as we watched him struggle to breathe with his one remaining cancer-infested lung. He offered to order in pizza for us, but nobody could think of eating. He wanted us to be happy. He joked. He smiled. He spoke words of faith and hope, and despite our misery, he warmed us with his luminous glow.

“When G‑d presents a challenge, you have to deal with it,” he wrote to us in his goodbye letter a few weeks before he died. “What looks like a traumatic experience is actually the transition from this world to the next . . . Most of us don’t think about it, but we’re all in the process of dying. I’ve been fighting cancer for almost 10 years, so in a way I’ve been fortunate to confront issues of life and death.”

Dad was never a complainer. And even now, with plastic pipes in his nostrils and a team of nurses assisting him with his basic bodily functions, he seemed content. And he was. “I am at peace with everything that is happening to me,” his letter continued. “I feel that the quality of my life outweighed my relatively short time in this world. It was a worthwhile tradeoff . . . I count my blessings, and I say thank you G‑d for all You have given me.”

I wished I could stay with him forever, but I had to get back to my husband and daughter in Israel. I knew I had to get past my own grief and make each second count.

I tried to extract as much wisdom and guidance from him as possible. “Talk more, Dad,” I pleaded. “I just want to hear you speak. Your words are my inheritance. I’m going to embrace them forever. Tell me what matters in life. Tell me what’s real. Tell me what to do when times get tough. Tell me how to cope without you.”

“I just want to hear you speak. Your words are my inheritance..." “Keep on living,” he said. “Keep on achieving. I treasure the love that my children have for me. Be passionate about your work, and love your family. I’ll always be with you.”

Before I left for the airport, before the heart-wrenching final goodbye, before the two carts full of tears that I cried, he said to me, “Whenever things got tight, and I thought I wouldn’t have enough money to buy orange juice for the family, G‑d always brought me another client. He made sure that we always had our orange juice. G‑d came through for me every time. And he will for you too. Remember that.”

And I do. I remember my father’s words often, and I feel comforted.

May this article be an elevation for the soul of my father, Gedaliah Chaim ben Shmuel Baruch.